Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hepworth and Auerbach

IMG_20151015_163801 (1050x1400)My investor meetings in London wrapped up at early today, and the follow-ups with my group ended by 4 pm.  Even with my embarrassingly snow-white Senior Railcard, I couldn’t use my discount before 7 pm.  No matter, I haven’t used my Tate Pass in months and there are a couple of shows on at the museum that are well worth a visit.


IMG_20151015_161036 (1050x1400)Barbara Hepworth is a modernist British sculptor: her gardens and workshops in St. Ives are a treat to visit if you are in Cornwall.  Sculpture for a Modern World features many of her smaller works, arranged as an evolutionary retrospective.

When I was learning charcoal drawing, I always liked the fluid arcs and contours of Life Drawing as compared to the geometric precision and angles of Still Life.  IMG_20151015_161511 (1400x1087)I’m similarly pulled into Hepworth’s works by their smooth curves and surfaces, the shaped stones made soft and warm.

The earliest works are of people and animals: repeated renderings of the torso (Interestingly, the fronts more detailed than the backs), evolving to abstract flowing blobs representing bodies and limbs.

Geometric forms follow, spheres and torus's,  progressing into encircling ovoid's pierced with fine wire lines.

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The exhibit ends with a movie of her working, determinedly hammering at stone wearing a smock and a smile (and no safety glasses), then a recreation of her 1966 outdoor exhibition at the Kröller-Müller Museum near Arnhem (NL).

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Unfortunately the exhibit ends in another week, but it’s worth an hour to walk around the pieces and to understand her art.

Auerbach Reclining Head IIUpstairs is a second exhibition featuring Frank Auerbach’s thickly layered oil paintings.  The exhibit is new, running until next March, and displays a chronology of his portraits and landscapes.

Seeing a photograph like Reclining Head II (above) is not at all like seeing the work first-hand.  Auerbach layers on the paints, and there are centimeters of relief in the works that creates flat sculptures.

Auerbach Primrose Hill Auerbach Morning Crescent

Similarly, landscapes like Primrose Hill (below) are both abstract and depictive, full of energy and bold strokes of paint. 

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Some of his works are a bit unsettling, in contrast to the calm poise of Hepworth’s sculpture, but all are imaginative and unique.

I took a last stroll through the British Art through the Ages, admiring the journey from an ancient selfie to Hockney’s  portraits. 

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Then the bus and walk to Waterloo, experimenting with my shutter speed before I caught the train south.

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