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Monthly Archives: February 2018
Exhibition Visit – The Hepworth – Alina Szapocznikow: Human Landscape + Permanent collection of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth
I started my visit looking at the permanent collection of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. I had viewed most of this on previous visits, so concentrated on their drawings and its relationship to their sculptures.
The drawings of his which were on display were his lithograph prints of Stonehenge and a couple of drawings of sculptures in a landscape.
I think his lithographs of Stonehenge are fantastic. They are very dark, but not in a brooding way, they have more of a mysterious feel to them. The lines and shading he uses describe the form of the rocks in great detail and really bring them to life.
The concentration on form and the smooth curves he describes in these rocks can be seen in his sculptural work. Whilst they are drawings of different objects to those which directly influenced his sculptures, the connection is clear.
This drawing was one of only two on display which show his drawings of sculptures – this time placed in an imaginary landscape. The background and shadows are very simple, but is effective in displaying these sculptures in-situ. This is something my tutor has just suggested I try doing with my own work in connecting my drawing more closely with my sculpture work. I can see how this could work well and I will try doing this.
There are many similarities between Hepworth’s and Moore’s sculptures, especially in their early work. However, when it comes to drawings, they are very different. Whereas Moore’s drawings are all about form, Hepworth’s seem to be all about line. She said herself (in an article for The Studio in 1946) that she rarely makes drawings for her sculptures, but her drawings are a search for forms, rhythms and curvatures. In the drawings on display, you could see their influence on the stringed sculptures she produced and the use of holes in her work, but there was no evidence of form being explored.
Szapocznikow’s work was very odd. Her work concentrates on the human figure and is mostly distorted and disturbing work. Reading about her background of being a Polish Jew and spending over 10 months imprisoned in concentration camps during the second world war, the experiences she suffered there are clear to see in her work.
‘Hand, Monument to the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto II, 1957’
In this sculpture she has drawn on these experiences to propose a sculpture for a monument to the Holocaust and it is a powerful work which fits the brief well.
Similarly, her work ‘Exhumed, 1955’ is another powerful sculpture, an unofficial memorial to a politician falsely accused of espionage and murdered.
Her other works, I found hard to connect to. Distorted figures or parts of figures were hard to interpret and her tumour works were very disturbing. She used materials which fitted in well with her work – resin and foam – these highlighted the disturbing nature of her sculptures.
Many of her drawings were also on display. These were often doodle like and used line with very little depiction of tone. It was also hard to see the link between these and her sculptural work, they all seems to be abstract shapes which bore no similarity with her sculptures.
Overall, it was not an exhibition I connected well with. I could see where the influences for her work came from and appreciate some of her work (the first two sculptures mentioned), but I didn’t like any of it. Is there anything I can take from the exhibition? That I’m not sure of at the moment. Maybe to be less precious of my drawings and not strive for a polished end product?
Notes on my tutor’s report for part 1:
Keen to get me confident in connecting my sculptural interests to drawing.
Need to bring my artists research into the coursework.
Try taking elements of a drawn 2D scene, model in 3D, then draw again.
Other option is collage – representing a scene through layered collage.
For my parallel project, investigate placement of sculptures in a scene or develop a purpose to the drawing investigations to move my sculptural ideas forward in some way.
Noted that the stippling was an interesting surface to bring in and why I did this. I need to remember to include details on why I make decisions like this in my reflections. Without the stippling, the white in the drawing was too stark. I was looking to break this up and had the option of either stippling or adding blocks of colour to the white areas. As blocks of colour had been explored in the previous project, I went for stippling.
Investigate more possibilities than the prescribed course notes to get the most out of the course.
My tutor notes that these are very successful and wonders why I say that I struggle with drawing. I am confident in my life drawings using charcoal and so it is odd that I consider myself a poor drawer. I need to work out how to apply the confidence I have in my life drawings to other subjects I guess.
Delve around further in terms of the artist’s working processes.
Write about decisions made in why I am drawing what I choose to draw.
Be more critical when unpacking the work when it is done to understand what I am investigating and why.
My tutor asks why the interest in cells. Again I have failed to explain this thought process in my reflections. I have an interest in microscopy from work I did on my Sculpture 2 course and I continue to delve into that world for ideas and inspiration for new sculptural work. I am currently working on a sculpture piece based on nerve cells (IMAGE) and so I am again trying to link my drawing work with my sculptural work to make it more relevant and interesting for me.
Try to incorporate 3D work. Use non-traditional materials to draw with.
Visit at least one exhibition for part 2.
Read and reflect wider than the course notes.
Investigate contemporary sculpture from artists drawings to get a better sense of the connections that can be made.
A very helpful tutor report and useful guidance in how to take my drawing work forwards. I was wary of doing this course based on my experience of D1, but now I think I can get a lot out of it.