Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) has become one of our favourite places to visit locally, and we make the trip several times each year, enjoying the changing of the seasons as much as the changing of the galleries and the artwork. It’s that combination of fine art placed in a natural environment (largely anyway – some is always in galleries) that is the main attraction for me.
This early spring visit offered us the trees (of which there are very many!) still in skeletal form, unadorned and with their lines “unconfused” by the leaves which will come in the next few weeks. I really enjoy that anyway; beautiful though trees might be in full leaf, the fine tracery of twigs, branches, limbs and trunks is only revealed during the “fall” seasons, and is brilliant, in a sense artwork beyond human artifice.
There is currently a new exhibition of Henry Moore’s work both in the “Underground Gallery” and out in the gardens. I find increasing pleasure in his sculpture; I don’t claim to understand it or to be able to interpret it, I guess I just enjoy the shapes, the lines and the curves. Perhaps it reflects my inadequate knowledge of what he’s about, but I find myself thinking that interpretation is the wrong objective here anyway. There can be, at risk of sounding pretentious, an emotional, even spiritual reaction to the shapes which might actually be lessened by “mere” interpretation.
Interestingly, there are several works in the gallery which are by their shape plainly “human”, reclining figures. On these Moore has made a face – eyes, nose and mouth – which looks a little like graffiti. I really did find that these “faces” spoiled my enjoyment of the figures, maybe because it seemed to be an attempt to make them lifelike. Maybe just a phase he went through!!?
In the chapel in the grounds, now converted into a gallery, was a presentation called “The Song of Coal”. The was extraordinary and very powerful. Visually it created a “rose window” on the blank wall in the segments of which were ever changing scenes from the story of coal, and particularly of those who mined for it. The whole was accompanied by a choir singing something based on an ecclesiastical litany sung to plainchant. Lovely sound, although the words were sadly very difficult to distinguish. The whole served as a reminder of that area’s association with pits and mining and as a nudge towards visiting the Mining Museum that’s just up the road from the YSP itself.
Satisfying and enjoyable visit as always ….. here’s a selection of images …..