Sculptures, prints, photographs and other ephemera illuminate the artist’s life long relationship with the landscape.
From the rugged Yorkshire countryside she knew in childhood to the idyllic seascapes that surrounded her studio in St Ives, Barbara Hepworth found the landscape a constant source of stimulation. In Pictorial Autobiography she describes her early memories in terms of forms, shapes and textures. ‘Moving through and over the West Riding landscape with my father in his car, the hills were sculptures; the roads defined the forms’.
For Hepworth, sculpture and landscape were irrevocably entwined and this perception became the founding basis of her work. In the same text she goes onto declare ‘I am the sculptor, I am the landscape’. This exhibition draws on the artist’s extensive writing on the subject, joining her words with prints, photography and other ephemera, as well as some of her most celebrated sculptural works.
One example is Stringed Figure (Curlew), which she created during her years in St Ives. At the time Hepworth was working almost exclusively in metal, believing it provided greater freedom for describing space. Made using brass and cotton fisherman’s string that the artist acquired locally, its secondary title ‘curlew’ is a reference to Europe’s largest wading bird, commonly found around the UK coastline.