landscapes outdoor sculpture Yorkshire

A Week of Culture – Part Three – My Favourites at the YSP

For this third post in the Week of culture I promised to share with you some of my favourite  scultptors who have created pieces to display outdoors. Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the ideal setting with its acres of grounds which was an area of parkland associated with a grand house. The sloping hillsides, the lake and woodland areas provide ideal settings for pieces of outdoor sculpture for both pure sculptors and land artists.

On our visit this winter the favourites we enjoyed were Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, David Nash and Richard Long.

I shall begin with a piece by Richard Long simply because this is the first time we have ever seen any of his work. Much of his work is based on a line, a walk or circles. He is the best known British land artist famous for his work made while walking. He has been honoured with a CBE for his art, the land art, sculpture, photography and paintings and in 1989 received the Turner Prize. At the sculpture park we had to walk along the shores of the lake through woodlands before we found this piece. The photo was taken on my i Pad so do not do the piece justice. The stone pieces were of red sandstone.

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My second artist to feature is David Nash who has a few pieces permanently at Yorkshire Sculpture Park but we have also seen  a massive exhibition of hs work here a few year ago after his year as artist in residence there. Both pieces we saw on this visit are in the woodland with one on the banks of the lake on the shore between the wood and the water.

The first of his works we found was entitled “71 Steps” and it climbed a hillside up through the wooded slope. The first few photos are to set the scene.

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Close by we spotted these beautiful pieces of wood and tree sculpted by Mother Nature and reflected in the water. They were flowing out into the lake.

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The second of the David Nash pieces was closer to the water’s edge between the trees and the biscuit coloured leaves. Just like the steps the wood had been scorched by burning. Sadly the camera on my i Pad couldn’t cope with the contrasts so the beautiful colour of the dried reeds has burnt out.

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On a piece of rough ground close to the lake we came across a builder’s store where old bricks and building stones were being kept whilst work was being completed on an old chapel in the grounds. We couldn’t help but wonder what a good land artist would have created using these pieces! Close by mother Nature had created a piece of her own land art based on a fallen tree.

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Barbara Hepworth’s work is well represented here at the sculpture park as her pieces called the “Family of Man” are displayed most sympathetically on a sloping piece of sparcely planted woodland. On the way to find these pieces we passed this interesting sign where the face of our Labour Party leader had been added. Similar photos of faces had been pasted to trees but the weather had got the better of these.

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I have included some close up photos of a few of the pieces by Barbara Hepworth to show where the hand of the artist has left her marks. I enjoy studying the texture of any piece of sculpture as it can be as important as the overall shape of the work.

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The bark of this tree caught my eye as we moved between the Barbara Hepworth pieces. It was the texture that attracted me and the pattern of diamonds sculpted into the bark. Even the carved graffiti seemed to add to the character of the tree, telling a part of its story.

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You can see from the photo of Jude below that the weather was not making wandering around the site too easy. The ground beneath our feet was very slippery. This meant that when we came to seek out the work of Henry Moore we found it difficult to get to them as the ground was impossible to walk on due to the steep sloping land where they were situated.

But we can enjoy this one piece.

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For part 4 of this week of culture we move on to the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery in the city of Wakefield itself.

gardens open to the public landscapes outdoor sculpture photography Yorkshire

A Week of Culture – Part 2 – Yorkshire Sculpture Park

At least once a year we go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park so it was bound to be one of the venues on our cultural holiday. It is always a cold place and often wet and windy. We were bound to have rough weather as we were visiting in January during a particularly wet, windy winter. Thank goodness for the coffee shop which provided us several opportunities to warm back up. We arrived before it opened and became so absorbed in the special nature of this place that we left as the grounds were closing.

The four featured artists in early 2014 are Angie Lewin, Tom Price, Dennis Oppenheim and Awar Kanwatr, but as always there are resident pieces all around. Most of the pieces are sympathetically displayed around the grounds in the open grassland, under trees, alongside the lake and on grassed slopes. There is also a gallery where work can be displayed. It is a stunning building with galleries that provide beautiful display spaces. The first of the photos below show the building from the front whereas the second shows how it fits into the slope of the garden hidden by its green roof. All the lawn here is in fact the roof of the galleries.

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The original red-bricked wall of the walled garden and its bothy are still here providing unusual display spaces. Alongside the wall we found these “sound benches” part of an exhibition of work by Amar Kanwar, a combination of film and installation.

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The Bothy Gallery itself featured some of the work of sculpture Tom Price. Small bronzes are here to enjoy close up and a huge 9 feet tall figure entitled “Network” was to be searched for in the grounds. I found his work fascinating so it was a wonderful experience being so close to his pieces and his subjects are contemporary people worked in the traditional medium of bronze.

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We have enjoyed the work of some great artists here in the past, David Nash, Andy Goldsworthy etc and the artist we were primarily focusing on during this visit was Angie Lewin. We usually come here to look at the work of sculptors or land artists but Angie Lewin is an artist and designer who works in watercolours as well as prints using the techniques of a woodcut, lino cut, screen prints and lithography with much of her work being used as book or magazine illustrations. The natural world is her main stimulus especially skeletal seed heads against the sky. I love her work finding it fresh and lively as well as original.  Enjoy this little montage of her work.

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To be given the opportunity to view her sketchbooks was a delight and I was tempted to purchase a book of her work after seeing so many beautiful pieces.

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But of course there was lots more to see, including a few pieces we seek out in the grounds on every visit. Works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, James Turrell and Antony Gormley.

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As we returned to the centre after enjoying our wander around the grounds we discovered another interesting and unexpected piece of work. Every space available is used to provide original and effective display galleries, in this case even a stairway. These little ceramic creatures in a piece called “Infestation” are the work of Anna Collette Hunt and provide great entertainment as you climb the stairs.

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This day’s cultural visit was to be the first of two days at Wakefield. The following day we went in search of the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery within the city itself. These two venues are two out of the three that make up the “Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle”. After this cultural holiday we will just have the one of the three corners of the triangles left to see, the city of Leeds. This comprises the Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute. We will soon be planning a few more days away to discover what that venue has to offer. To find out more about the triangle of galleries visit

To re-visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park when I share my favourite sculptors with you see my next blog in the “Week of Culture” series of posts.

garden photography gardens open to the public Land Art outdoor sculpture photography the South

David Nash at Kew Gardens – Part 1

Can you have a better day than this? Outdoor sculpture collection with one of the world’s best exponents – David Nash. The only World Heritage Site that is a garden – Kew. And the best company possible – Jude and our four kids (we started off with two but they each gained another).

And here they are (well just four of them) taking a break in the Temperate House. Apart from Jude and Sam we are all camera-toters so it is impossible to get a pic of us all together as there is always at least one left somewhere composing their artistic endeavours.

We drove down to London in drizzle and mist – a miserable journey through beautiful countryside we couldn’t see, but after a night’s rest in a comfy hotel room we met our four kids in the White Peaks Cafe just inside the world of Kew. The day was a great improvement over yesterday but as we left the car our ears were subjected to the cacophony of noise made by the parakeets now dominating the parks of the capital. They do not fit here at all. Our native Jays in their subtle outfits of pink and blue were much more in keeping.

Lattes and lemonades safely stored away we followed the Kew App that sent us on the trail of the collection of David Nash pieces. It was over a year since we had seen his retrospective exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park so we were more than ready to appreciate his work again.

Two of my favourite pieces were created from strips of cork oak bark, a huge cone in the conservatory and a low dome out in the open.

As with much of his work there is beauty in the details.

Suddenly I was presented with a sighting of a wonderful juxtaposition.

So another amazing exhibition of the work of David Nash. I wonder when we shall be treated to his next?