Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield 27.11.14


We headed once again for the Hepworth, as we do several times each year, and after a “light lunch” in the cafe, headed for the galleries.  We’ve now seen Barbara Hepworth’s permanent exhibition many times and I’ve always been moved by it.  It’s not a question of understanding it, I’ve concluded, rather it’s about responding at an emotional, even spiritual level to the shapes and textures that are there, and that sometimes are combined within a single room.  Obviously the “work of art” is completed when the artist decides that no more can be done (sometimes a very difficult decision to make, I suspect) but I wonder if there is a sense in which “the work of art” is something which continues in the eye, mind and soul of the viewer and indeed in the case of an artist of high repute like Hepworth, the growing multitude of viewers.  If that be so then a work of art is never completed because its work continues as long as it remains to stimulate those who look at it.  What does that say about art kept in a bank vault?

The particular exhibition of the moment is entitled “Conflict and Collisions”, and features the work of three artists – Alexandra Bircken, Folbert de Jong and Toby Ziegler.  There are some particularly moving pieces here, including a frieze placed in a display by Ziegler but made by Charles Sargent Jagger which depicts soldiers dead and dying in a WW1 trench.  I’ve no doubt the artists all have web sites and there’s certainly more on the Hepworth’s own site ( hepworthwakefield .org )  …. I’ll just add this quote from the HGW site, and some photographs, made incidentally with the iPhone and lightly dusted over in Lightroom.

“…… themes of historical and contemporary combat and of men versus machine, with handmade and hand finished objects opposing mechanical weaponry, state of the art digital techniques and 3D printing”

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