The recently opened Hepworth contemporary art gallery in Wakefield (or formally the Hepworth Wakefield) is one of the largest art galleries outside London. Its permanent exhibitions highlight the work of modernist sculpture Barbara Hepworth. Her monumental sculptures are particularly appreciated by metal thieves.
Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield. She didn’t live there that long, moving down to London to study at the Royal College of Art when she was only 17, she stayed down south, living in Hampstead and then St Ives.
Hepworth loved to carve and these displays showed how even the production of her bronze pieces she was able to incorporate carving by working on the plaster models used to produce the castings. In many of her bronze pieces the surface textures reflects this. Her abstract sculptures exude a feeling of feminine calm and resilience, while her strong features, seen in photographs, often wear the same beatific, but determined half-smile.
It’s the expression of a woman who fought her way through the hostility of the all-male art world to become the greatest woman artist this country has ever produced, only to suffer an extraordinary and shocking demise.
The Hepworth Wakefield opened on 21 May 2011 and is Yorkshire’s landmark gallery for the visual arts. This stunning building, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, is a place to explore art, architecture and your imagination.