Tag Archives: Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth: And finally ….

The pictures taken in the Hepworth Garden were of complete sculptures.  But it was Hepworth’s wish that the viewer should get close to the work, walk around it, approach it from different angles, explore the textures and contours within contours.  Recall her words: ‘Everything I make is to touch.’

The images below are details from larger sculptures.  They explore texture, colour and line.  Indeed, several of these pictures create superb, free-standing abstract compositions in their own right.

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Around the Barbara Hepworth Garden (2)

Continuing from two days ago, below I am offering a further selection from the Hepworth Garden.  I would stress that these two selections provide only a taster of a very special experience.

Two Forms (Divided Circle)

Corè

Torso II (Torcello)

Stone Sculpture (Fugue II)

Square Forms (Two Sequencies)

Hollow Form with Inner Form

See also Around the Barbara Hepworth Garden and The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden

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Around the Barbara Hepworth Garden

Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) was an internationally renowned sculptor whose finest work was produced in the years between the end of World War II and her death in 1975.

She was a prolific artist whose work can be seen in public places throughout the UK as well as in galleries and museums.  The recently opened Hepworth Museum in Wakefield (2011) houses 44 full size model prototypes in plaster and aluminium, made in preparation for the works in bronze executed from the mid-1950’s to the end of her career.

Works appear in public places and collections across the world, from the US and Canada, through Europe, to China and Japan in the Far East.

Hepworth was an abstract artist who worked in a variety of materials  – wood, stone, bronze and marble.  She produced flowing, rhythmic sculptures that created impressions of objects rather than simple portraits of the objects themselves.  She was drawn to smooth natural shapes rather than angular geometric blocks, although there are exceptions.  She focused a good deal on the impact of light (and changing light) on her work.  The characteristic pierced holes in her sculptures allow the light in and create a certain airiness a solid block would lack.

Three quotations from Hepworth will, I think, help an appreciation of her work:
‘I rarely draw what I see, I draw what I feel’.  This is equally true of the sculptures.

‘Everything I make is to touch.’  This seems to me to be so important with sculpture.  And the joy of the Hepworth Garden is the access to the works  – the opportunity to touch.

‘I like the story to be implicit in the work and you make your own sense of it.’  I feel that the titles are often not helpful in terms of conveying what the sculptor had in mind.  Does that matter?  Sometimes I feel it would help!

Hepworth 1b

Spring

P1010509a

Cantate Domino

Hepworth 19.a jpg

Ascending Form (Gloria)

Title Unknown

six forms

Six Forms

See also The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden

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The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden

( This is a much extended version of a blog first posted in 2011)

Next to the Tate in St Ives is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden.  The museum is housed in the Trewyn Studio where Hepworth lived and worked from 1949 until her tragic death in a fire in 1975.  The museum contains a range of small sculptures unsuitable for outdoor display, and an interesting and valuable collection of archive materials.

The garden was designed by Hepworth with the assistance of her composer friend Priaulx Rainier, an enthusiastic gardener.  Plants, shrubs and trees were chosen for their textural and sculptural qualities.  A gravel path links the exhibits and at the same time affords glimpses of other sculptures through the foliage.

The acquisition of Trewyn Studio was important to Hepworth.  It enabled her to work outdoors and led to the creation of works on a more monumental scale.  Several of the bronzes here benefit from the space available.

Adjacent to the studio are a workshop and summer house which remain largely as Hepworth left them.  Outside are uncarved blocks of stone.

It is not a large garden but the sculptor’s presence is inescapable.  There is a vibrancy that links us through the works: they are tangible and large, not pictures on a page.  There is a feeling of naturalness about the workshop  –  as if the sculptor has just popped out for a cup of tea.  The garden is an oasis of quietude and is respected as such by the many visitors.

Barbara Hepworth was one of the few women artists to achieve international prominence.  Here, in this garden, we can understand why.

The first three photos are selected views of the garden.  The fourth shows the interior of Hepworth’s workshop.

The next two posts will comprise photos of Hepworth’s sculptures in the garden.

See also Around the Barbara Hepworth Garden

Note.  There is a good deal of information on the internet about both the Tate and the Museum.  Two particularly interesting sites for Hepworth are a BBC Monitor programme made with the sculptor in 1961 atwww.bbc.co.uk/archive/sculptors/12804.shtml and a tour of the garden on an educational video www.kids.tate.org.uk/games/barbaras_garden

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Tate St Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden

A visit to St Ives must include the Tate Gallery and the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden.

The Tate is a three storey building erected on the site of a disused gas works and overlooks Porthmeor Beach.  It was opened in 1993 and celebrates the modernist legacy of the town’s international artist colony.  Modern in design, its sweeping curves and clean cut lines are pleasing to the eye.

Both the exterior and interior walls are white  –  exploiting the unique quality of light for which St Ives is noted.  The five exhibition rooms of the gallery are of only moderate size but the temptation to overcrowd them has been resisted.  Each work is given ‘breathing space’.  Viewing is a quiet and enjoyable experience.

On our recent visit it was impossible not to recall the Gauguin Exhibition at the Tate Modern in London in November.  There we were herded like penguins on a rapidly diminishing ice floe, scarcely able to see or think and able to move only at the whim of the mass.

Tate St Ives runs a programme of temporary exhibitions  –  usually three each year.  Of the works currently on display I particularly enjoyed the sculptures of Naum Gabo, a Russian exile who moved to Carbis Bay, next to St Ives, in 1940.  There he became friends with Ben Nicholson, the painter, and Barbara Hepworth, the sculptor who was also Nicholson’s wife.  Much of the exhibition here comprises working models and prototypes that provide a fascinating insight into Gabo’s working process.

I also enjoyed the collages and assemblages of Margaret Mellis, several of which were constructed from driftwood.

The Slovakian, Roman Ondák, is an installation and performance artist.  His work here, Measuring the Universe 2007, grows during the course of the exhibition.  Each visitor to the gallery is asked to stand against the wall, their height is then measured and a mark is made in pen, together with the person’s name and the date.  The marks build up to form a dense black band running round the gallery walls, softening at top and bottom through the marks made by visitors of greater or less than average height.

The next exhibition will include paintings by Lichtenstein and Warhol.

The view from the café on the top floor effectively creates an additional gallery.  The windows frame the views below of tiny
Loweryesque figures set in a seaside context.

View from the restaurant

Next to the Tate is the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Garden.  The museum is housed in the Trewyn Studio where Hepworth lived and worked from 1949 until he tragic death in a fire in 1975.  It contains a range of small sculptures unsuitable for outdoor display, and an interesting and valuable collection of archive materials.

The garden was designed by Hepworth with the assistance of her composer friend Priaulx Rainier, an enthusiastic gardener.
Plants, shrubs and trees were chosen for their textural and sculptural qualities.  A gravel path links the exhibits and at the same time affords glimpses of other sculptures through the foliage.

The acquisition of Trewyn Studio was important to Hepworth.  It enabled her to work outdoors and led to the creation of works on a more monumental scale.  Several of the bronzes here benefit from the space available.

Adjacent to the studio are a workshop and summer house which remain largely as Hepworth left them.  Outside are uncarved blocks of stone.

It is not a large garden but the sculptor’s presence is inescapable.  There is a vibrancy that links us through the works: they are tangible and large, not pictures on a page.  There is a feeling of naturalness about the workshop  –  as if the sculptor has just popped out for a cup of tea.  The garden is an oasis of quietude and is respected as such by the many visitors.

Barbara Hepworth was one of the few women artists to achieve international prominence.  Here, in this garden, we can understand why.

Note.  There is a good deal of information on the internet about both the Tate and the Museum.  Two particularly interesting sites for Hepworth are a BBC Monitor programme made with the sculptor in 1961 at www.bbc.co.uk/archive/sculptors/12804.shtml and a tour of the garden on an educational video www.kids.tate.org.uk/games/barbaras_garden.

See also Art in St Ives

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