Monday, 17 August 2015

Barbara Hepworth - Sculpture for a Modern World

 A trip of two halves, having pendolinoed smoothly with Sir Richard from Bham a tube-strike meant good old-fashioned leg power to Tate Britain at Millbank. The bonus being a sight seeing trip through Bloomsbury, passing Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament. Great that the Sun had its hat on then. At Tate Britain a Mrs Oh prepared picnic lunch in the Barbara Hepworth inspired garden installation and into the exhibition.

Tate Britain
The exhibition is subdivided into seven areas:
Carving, Studio, International Modernism, Equilibrium, Staging Sculpture, Quarea and Pavillion

Torso 1928 att John Skeaping
Hepworth emerged in the 1920's as one of the leading figures in a new wave of sculptors carving figures in stone and wood. Opening by placing Hepworth's earlier smaller works alongside those of her contemporaries (including her first husband John Skeaping) the exhibition continues with her relationship and marriage to Ben Nicholson
demonstrating how inter-connected their work became during this time.

1932 (profile - Venetian red), Ben Nicholson

For anyone not that familiar with Ben Nicholson's work there are some great early pieces on show. Archive photographs from their personal albums also make for fascinating viewing and place the works on show firmly in context.

Seated Figure 1932 - 3
Hepworth was not just concerned with making a visually beautiful work but also creating a 'unity' between the idea, the material and the dimensions to achieve a sculpture that possesses "a spiritual inner life". She strongly believed that this was the way to "give a work of art its own life and purpose".

Conoid, Sphere and Hollow III 1937

The exhibition deals with Hepworth's deep interest in the use of colour and form and also her passion that artists and architects should work together to create environments where art and architecture fit seamlessly together complementing and enhancing the environment.

Green Caves 1946
Sculpture and Colour (Oval Form)
Pale Blue and Red 1943

In the 50's and 60's as Hepworth's reputation grew so did the Sculptures and she embarked on larger and more challenging works. Quarea, four large sculptures carved from "great log" and Pavilion (based on the Rietveld Pavilion exhibition) show some of these. The largest sculpture in the show, Squares with Two Circles 1963 impressively welcomes visitors at the exhibition entrance.
Forms In Echelon 1938

Seeing these works in the flesh is a joy to behold and although you will never beat the sublime and innate beauty of the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden at Trewyn Studio in St Ives (here the works lie in situ where they were created among sub tropical planting and with the Cornish air adding patina daily) this is definitely a show not to be missed.

Pelagos 1946

In the 'Modern World' where he (or she) that screams loudest often triumphs (though usually temporarily) it is great to remember that empty vessels still make the most noise. There are no garish pink walls or liquorice allsorts floor coverings but these works still shine brightly. They indeed have that "spiritual inner life" that permeates the soul of the onlooker and generates that same optimism felt by the pre-war international avant-garde.

Sphere with Inner Form 1963
Barbara Hepworth Sculpture for a Modern World runs 24th June - 25th October at Tate Britain Millbank, London.

Open daily 10:00 - 18:00

Check details here

Squares with two Circles 1963

Unless you like a good walk Tube-strikes best avoided!
Companion book / catalogue £35 - well worth having in your collection.

Start your collection at  Orangehat

Monday, 27 July 2015

Sir Terry Frost: A Leamington Lad

Sir Terry Frost is such an iconic name when it comes to the rise of St Ives Art and British Modernism that it can sometimes be forgotten that he hailed from the Heart of the Midlands. As we reach the Centenary of the birth of Terence Ernest Manitou Frost, A Leamington Lad now on at Leamington Spa Art Gallery leaves you in no doubt about the roots of the man and his work. 
terry frost a leamington lad
Sir Terry Frost A Leamington Lad

The show opens with early ephemera and paintings from Frost's POW years at Stalag 383 following his capture on Crete in June 1941. His incarceration and well documented meeting with Slade trained Adrian Heath was the catalyst that would change Frost forever and set him on the long road to his amazing artist success.

terry frost madrigal 1949
Madrigal 1949

terry frost pow paintings
Early POW paintings and 1950 paintbox

Early family portraits, sketches, Frost's paint box circa 1950 (complete with screwed up paint tubes) and even a postcard detailing his 'change of address' to Stalag 383 make for fascinating viewing. Oil on canvas Madrigal 1949 Frost's first abstract work of note and based on the poem by W H Auden is a masterpiece worth visiting for alone. Other works from the Leamington permanent collection featured include two great oil on canvases Orange Umber 1960 (bought for £75 in 1962) and Orange and Blue 1963.
Terry Frost Orange Umber 1960

The exhibition then moves to the later years featuring many of Frost's colourful and much loved prints and collages from the Leamington and Warwick University (where Frost received an honorary degree in 2000) collections respectively.
Terry Frost acrylic and collages
More signature work

Frost was able to pass on his love of the visual arts and joy of colour with prestigious teaching posts at Bath Academy and Leeds and Reading Universities. He was elected RA in 1992 and Knighted in 2000.
Untitled (Newlyn) 1995

The last piece in the show 'Life is just a .....2003' is a heartfelt poem by Terry's son Adrian.

Life is Just a.... 2003

The PV was a highly charged event with many family and friends that feature in the Terry Frost story present to honour the man and the artist. A speech by Terry's son Anthony and heckled in humour by brother comedian Stephen was rousing and emotional at the same time.

A Leamington Lad PV
A Leamington Lad PV

The book introduced and edited by Leamington's chief curator Dr Chloe Johnson accompanies the show and is great at £6.

Having eagerly awaited the show since finding out about it on visiting Anthony Frost for a
cuppa in May I am now eagerly awaiting going back and seeing it again!

For anyone with an interest in Terry Frost or St Ives in general this is a MUST SEE and for anyone new to the genre treat yourself it's FREE - you will LOVE it.

A Leamington Lad runs at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum till 11th Oct. Also watch out for Stalag Happy - the award-winning play based on the true and moving story of the artists Sir Terry Frost and Adrian Heath whilst interned at WWII POW Camp Stalag 383 - featuring Sir Terry's grandson Dan Frost.

For further reading Terry Frost A Painter's Life by Roger Bristoe published by Sansom & Co

Do please checkout more Modern and Contemporary St Ives Art & Ceramics at Orangehat