Art Exhibition: The Hepworth Wakefield Spring Collection
Heather and Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers and David Thorpe
11 February- 10 June 2012
The Hepworth lends itself perfectly as a complementary and innovative space for its Spring Collection featuring three exhibits of four contemporary artists.
Heather and Ivan Morison’s collection, Anna, draws on the life of novelist Anna Kavan, whose stories focus on her own life as well as science fiction. The exhibition tells a tale based on Kavan’s book The Ice. The allegorical exhibition uses storytelling and symbolism through its use of objects and sculptures, with voices echoing from the walls representing the child, girl, and warden from Kavan’s story. Puppet performances are held at 3pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which narrate the meaning of the exhibition and tie the objects together. The floor of the gallery is representational of a “vivid emerald sheet” of ice, upon which timber and objects float. The stand-out piece is The child, a giant, helium balloon with cast iron netting which is attached to a wooden stool by a piece of rope, suggestive of the constraints on our fleeting existence. Heather and Ivan Morison use interesting media such as wax, chimney soot and lime wood, drawing us back to our primitive selves.
Ben Rivers’ award winning film Slow Action is a post-apocalyptic portrayal of four very different locations: Lanzarote (best known for its beautiful beaches and dead volcanoes), Gunkanjima (an island off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan), Tuvalu (one of the smallest countries in the world and Somerset. When watching the 45-minute film, slumped amongst a mound of beanbags, you find yourself dozing into a hypnotic, tranquil haze. The soothing voice of American novelist Mark von Schlegell narrates the slow, transient journey of the documentary-like images of our world. Rivers’ piece offers a certain space for reflection and appreciation like no other video art piece.
David Thorpe’s exhibition focuses on the lost spirit of Utopianism in England at the end of the 19th century. One cannot help but be amazed by his meticulous attention to detail in his William Morris-esque designs. Thorpe intricately cuts foliage out of leather, paints berries with pristine detail using watercolours, and hand paints individual tiles to cover a huge display. He is clearly rebelling against today’s “cheap industrialised production techniques” through his time consuming process of creation. Lights from within the patterned boxes suggest a spiritual, sacred aura that encompasses the art works. Although purely non-functional, the sculptures stand as manifestations of their pain-staking manufacture. Thorpe doesn’t try to attach metaphysical meanings to his work, but instead focuses on form in an attempt to demonstrate the inextricable link between an artwork’s maker, and its conditions of making.
The Spring Collection at the Hepworth Wakefield is an exciting and fresh take on the complex relationship between man and nature.
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