Art in Yorkshire: Hepworth Wakefield

Posted on August 21, 2017 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

hepworth wakefield

hepworth wakefield

The stunning concrete architecture is designed by David Chipperfield architects

 

Two years ago, there was a major retrospective exhibition of Barbara Hepworth's work at Tate Britain, which I found fairly disappointing and felt it did not do justice to the great sculptor. Luckily, there are two museum/art gallery in the U.K. dedicated to the artist: one in Saint Ives (where she lived) and one in Wakefield (where she was born). After Hepworth Wakefield was named the 2017 Art Fund museum of the year, I was more eager to visit this art gallery, especially to see the £35m building designed by David Chipperfield, who happens one of my favourite contemporary architects (I love the Neues Museum in Berlin).

 

hepworth wakefield

hepworth wakefield  hepworth wakefield

hepworth wakefield

 

To be honest, Wakefield is not exactly a happening city (unlike the nearby Leeds), and I think that the Hepworth Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park have probably contributed towards the city's tourism and profile. A sharp contrast to the slightly rundown city centre, the Hepworth Gallery looks more like a contemporary cathedral than a gallery. As soon as I saw it from across the river, I was quite blown away by the sublime beauty of the architecture, its reflection on the river and its surroundings. This is what I called 'Picture perfect'.

 

hepworth wakefield

hepworth wakefield  hepworth

hepworth wakefield

hepworth  hepworth wakefield

hepworth wakefield

hepworth wakefield  hepworth wakefield

 

I think the bright, spacious and airy gallery rooms are apt for Hepworth's colossal and organic sculptures. In one of the rooms, visitors can also view the 5.8 metres high aluminium prototype of the Winged Figure, a commission by John Lewis in 1963 which can still be seen outside of the John Lewis store on Oxford Street today.

The gallery is custodian of Wakefield’s art collection, founded in 1923, of more than 5,000 works by artists who include Hepworth, Moore, David Bomberg, Ben Nicholson, David Hockney and Paul Nash. Besides sculptures, the gallery also showcases Hepworth's less-known paintings, as well as her studio tools, book collection and photographs.

 

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hodgkin  howard hodgkin

howard hodgkin

Howard Hodgkin's 'Painting India' exhibition

 

Besides the permanent collection, there is also the Howard Hodgkin's 'Painting India' exhibition (until 8th October). More than 35 works are on display, painted over the last 50 years from the artist's annual visit to the country since 1964, they reveal the influence of India on Hodgkin’s work. The intense and vivid abstract paintings were inspired by sunsets, sea, rains, landscape and cities. It is astonishing how a few seemingly unintentional brushstrokes could capture the viewers' imagination and evoke their emotions at the same time; yet Hodgkin's work demonstrate that great art could speak to all of us without the need of narrative and forms.

 

david hockney  david hockney

hepworth wakefield

village & town  pottery and its making

First row: David Hockney's fantastic early etchings; 2nd row: A room dedicated to Henry Moore

 

After a visit to the gallery, I realised that there are many outstanding museums and galleries outside of London that are worth traveling to. However, if train travel in the U.K. is not such a nightmare, then perhaps many of us would jump onto the train and travel to different towns and cities to see what they have to offer. Honestly, if the government wants tourists to venture outside of London, then some decent and less costly train services would no doubt help to develop tourism outside of the capital.

 

hepworth wakefield

wakefield

 

 


This post was posted in Exhibitions, Architecture, Travel, Art, Britain, Contemporary, British art, Sculptures and was tagged with British art, sculptures, Hepworth Wakefield, Barbara Hepworth, Howard Hodgkin, comtemporary architecture, David Chipperfield, West Yorkshire

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