YORKSHIRE SCULPTURE PARK

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is in the parkland of Bretton Hall in West Bretton, just off junction 38 of the M1. It is an open-air gallery showing work by UK and international artists, including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on the cold afternoon of the 18th of January, 2017, and thoroughly enjoyed a brisk limb-stretching walk around the park.

The Henry Moore sculptures were instantly recognisable in form and enjoyable to view with their massive, softly rounded curves.

It was immediately clear that Henry Moore was deeply obsessed by the female form and was an advocate of modernism.

Some of Henry Moore’s pieces reminded me of Neanderthal buildings and settlements with their roundness and various holes and indeed some of them made me think of “Fred Flintstone’s House” and “Bedrock” in the cartoon series.

There were also other pieces that represented spears, nuts and Neanderthal figures in my mind and they inspired me with my Neolithic inspire painting and sculptures that I have named “Beauty in a Brick” and “The Killing Fields”.

These contrasted sharply with more modern but less ‘immediate’ angular metal pieces by Anthony Caro.

When I got a bit tired of wandering about, I went to sit on a bench conveniently overlooking an expanse of water.

This proved to be a soothing and enjoyable break.

I continued in search of the ‘sound’ installation of jackals yelping, which was quite near to a relocated Antony Gormley piece perched on high above the earth.

The highlight for me was the unusual ‘copper sulphate solution’ dwelling, which was eerie and strangely beautiful and made we think again of our Neolithic ancestors.

The visit was most enjoyable and inspirational, but I felt that I had hardly done the extensive collection any justice at all.

I look forward to returning very soon.

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Research Anthony Caro

Anthony Caro played a pivotal role in the development of twentieth century sculpture. He was born in Surrey in 1924 and educated at Charterhouse School and Christ’s College Cambridge where he graduated with a degree in engineering. After studying sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools in London from 1947–52, he worked as an assistant to Henry Moore in the 1950s.

He came to public attention with a show at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1963, where he exhibited large abstract sculptures brightly painted and standing directly on the ground so that they engage the spectator on a one-to-one basis. This was a radical departure from the way sculpture had hitherto been seen and paved the way for future developments in three-dimensional art.

His teaching at St Martin’s School of Art in London from 1953 to 1981 was very influential. He questioned assumptions about form, material and subject matter in sculpture, and his work inspired a whole younger generation of British sculptors including Phillip King, Tony Cragg, Barry Flanagan, Richard Long and Gilbert & George. His teaching led to a flowering and a new confidence in sculpture worldwide.

He often worked in steel, but also in a diverse range of other materials, including bronze, silver, lead, stoneware, wood and paper. Major exhibitions included retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975), the Trajan Markets, Rome (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995), Tate Britain, London (2005), and three museums in Pas-de-Calais, France (2008), to accompany the opening of his Chapel of Light at Bourbourg. His work has been collected by museums throughout the world.

He was awarded many prizes, including the Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture in Tokyo in 1992 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 1997

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Research on Henry Moore

English sculptor Henry Moore is born in Castleford, Yorkshire, on July 30, 1898. The son of a coal miner, he overcame early criticism of his work to become one of the most acclaimed sculptors of the 20th century. His majestic, semi-abstract sculptures of the human figure are characterized by their smooth, organic shape and often include empty hollows that evoke form as meaningfully as solid mass.

The seventh of eight children, Moore grew up in the small coal-mining town of Castleford in northern England. His father was an ambitious man who taught himself advanced mathematics in order to rise from ordinary miner to the position of mining engineer. Moore decided he wanted to become a sculptor at age 11, after hearing a Sunday school story about Michelangelo. He served in France during World War I and in 1917 was injured in a gas attack. After being demobilized in 1919, he won a veteran’s grant to study at the Leeds School of Art in West Yorkshire. In 1921, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London.

At London’s libraries and museums, he studied Egyptian, Etruscan, Pre-Columbian, Oceanic, and African sculpture, and he brought the vital spirit of this artwork into his early sculpture. This effort was often ridiculed by his instructors, and in his first year at the Royal College one of his teachers remarked, “this young man has been feeding on garbage.” He was also deeply influenced by the semi-abstract paintings of Paul Cezanne, such as the Large Bathers (1900-1905), which shows monumental reclining nudes integrated into an abstract landscape. The reclining human figure would become a central theme in Moore’s sculpture.

After graduating from the Royal College in 1924, he traveled and taught art and in 1928 was given his first one-man exhibition at the Warren Gallery in London. Appreciated by his fellow avant-garde artists but lacking a wider public audience, Moore taught to support himself as he continued to develop his art. His first major mature work was Reclining Figure in Wood (1936), a highly abstract depiction of the human form. That year, Moore was included in the “Cubism and Abstract Art” show at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, which became an important patron of the English artist.

During World War II, Moore’s studio was damaged by bombs, and sculpture material was difficult to come by. He turned to drawing and as a commissioned war artist produced a series of drawings of Londoners huddled in the underground bomb shelters. The Shelter Drawings (1940) seemed to capture the spirit of the times and brought Moore his first great fame. In 1946, he was given a major retrospective by the Museum of Modern Art, and in 1948 he won the Grand Prize for Sculpture at the 24th Venice Biennale. From thereon, Moore’s reputation was firmly established, and he began to receive major public commissions for sculptures in bronze and marble.

In addition to the reclining figure, other common themes of Moore’s sculpture include the mother and child, family groups, and fallen warriors. Among his major commissions were sculptures for UNESCO headquarters in Paris (1957-58), for Lincoln Center in New York City (1963-65), for the University of Chicago (1964-66), and for the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (1978). For the last four decades of his life, he lived unostentatiously in a farmhouse in Much Hadham, 30 miles north of London. He died in 1986.

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