Tag Archives: sculpture
I have titled this series ‘Minimalism’ simply because it was the work of the minimalist artists that triggered the initial thinking behind the selection.
Minimalism was a term that came into use in 1960’s New York. It was applied initially to sculptures in which a simple, unadorned unit became an essential, and often repeated, feature of the artwork Frequently individual components were made from prefabricated materials (as in Carl Andre’s Equivalent VIII, formed from an arrangement of firebricks — a work that caused a great deal of controversy when it w as first exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1976).
Minimalists rejected the use of conventional aesthetic appeal or attempts to communicate with the ‘inner self’. They preferred austere, ‘bare bones’ pieces. Even so, their use of colour often reflects a link with the works of Abstract Expressionists such as Barnett Newman.
The images in this series attempt to express some of these basic ideas and conventions in two dimensional form.
This image was derived from a photograph of a fireball sculpture by Aragorn Dick-Read (http://aragornsstudio.com/Aragorn.htm) I’ve no note of the original title but the subject is clear.
Tout Quarry produced stone commercially from around 1750 until the 1930’s. The disused quarry was ‘reincarnated’ in 1983 as a sculpture park using mainly local materials. It established a regular programme of artist residencies (the first was Anthony Gormley) together with stone carving and sculpture courses.
The site covers 40 acres and more than 70 exhibits (some complete, others work in progress) are integrated into the natural environment.
Tout Quarry is also a nature reserve attracting an extensive range of wild flowers, plants, moths and butterflies.
Further photos from the Guernsey sculpture park:
‘Mischief’ – David Goode
‘The Golden Apple’ – Alan Biggs
‘Silence’ – Martin Debenham
‘A Summer’s Day’ – Christa Hunter
‘Pastoral Dance’ – Aragorn Dick-Read
[A fireball, designed to be shown with
flames leaping through the gaps]
More details are available from the ArtParkS site.
The ArtParkS Sculpture Park is located in the grounds of the historic Sausmarez Manor on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Isles. A sculpture trail winds through the subtropical gardens and the sculptures, placed in natural settings, are easily accessible from the path. Each year around 125 pieces by international artists are displayed.
A tour of the exhibition is a wonderful experience and a photographer’s dream! I have selected just a few examples to convey something of the flavour and diversity of the work on show. In a few instances I have substituted a plain background to give clarity to the design when presented as a two dimensional picture.
Each photo is accompanied by the title of the work and the name of the artist. All of the artists have websites, but the ArtParkS website is very helpful and comprehensive. ArtParkS site here
‘Rosie’ – Andrew MacCallum
‘Ronin’ – Jason Le Noury
‘Convergence’ – Peter Newsome
‘Free Spirit III’ – Lynda Hukins
‘Times Cycle’ – Christine Fox
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.
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)
Torso II (Torcello)
Stone Sculpture (Fugue II)
Square Forms (Two Sequencies)
Hollow Form with Inner Form
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!
Ascending Form (Gloria)
Where to crop and where to place the focal point are decisions crucial to the effectiveness of every photograph, and I readily confess that I am often disappointed with my own previous choices.
In the case of the Weeping Buddha, below, I have chosen to place the figure towards the lower left corner. Freed from background clutter and noise, I hope the space behind enhances the atmosphere of meditation, quiet and solitude.
Interestingly, if the figure is transferred to the lower right corner he seems to be facing the world rather than isolating himself – praying for a wider community.
In The Little Book of Contemplative Photography, the author, Howard Zehr, suggests an exercise that I find very helpful, especially to enhance my understanding of images – including my own. He suggests that once a week we spend at least 10 minutes with a selected photograph and then, he instructs;
‘As you do, consider three topics in this order:
1 I see (Describe: examine each object, each detail, the light etc. The associate: what are you reminded of by the shapes, juxtapositions etc?)
2 I feel (What do you feel as you look at the image?)
3 I think (Interpret and analyse)’
Obviously it is intended that the sequence can be applied to any photograph or work of art (or, indeed, any aspect of life!) but, for now, I invite you to examine the two pictures of the small sculpture below:
I recommend Zehr’s book. It is a slim volume, cheap, and includes a number of useful exercises.
The sculpture in this picture is David Wynne’s Children of Tresco and the work stands in the Tresco Gardens in the Isles of Scilly. It is a wonderfully expressive sculpture, full of the fun and vitality of childhood. For those of us who are older it evokes memories and smiles and encourages us to dream and fantasize about the days when we too could play with not a care in the world.
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.
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