Since opening its magnificent doors to the public in 2011, The Hepworth Wakefield has been at the forefront of supporting artists, as was its predecessor, The Wakefield Art Gallery.
It’s been some time since the internationally important and instantly recognisable works of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth first enthralled gallery visitors in West Yorkshire, but with the current exhibitions programme and outreach work along with the [almost complete] Sculpture Garden and outside space, the coming months provide a multitude of reasons to visit Gallery Walk.
The Yorkshire Sculpture International kicks off on June 22. The collaboration between The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth and Yorkshire Sculpture Park is the UK’s largest sculpture showcase. The work of international artists is set to be presented across the venues. The Hepworth is also staging several new commissions and debut UK presentations from both established and emerging artists. Across the summer, all The Hepworth’s exhibition spaces will be dedicated to the Yorkshire Sculpture International programme.
Autumn 2019 will see the opening of the We Two Boys exhibition, showcasing early works from Alan Davie and David Hockney. In the 1950s, Davie staged his first solo exhibition at The Wakefield Art Gallery. A young Hockney, at the time a student at Bradford College of Art, visited the exhibition and cites the moment as having a pivotal influence on his career and future. This landmark exhibition will bring together 45 paintings and works on paper by Davie and Hockney. Many of the works haven’t been seen by the public for decades. Both post-war British artists have shared themes of passion, poetry and love as their work has evolved.
Within the context of 1960s counterculture, together with the popularisation of art through emerging forms of media from the period, this exhibition guarantees to showcase an exciting moment in British art. Also, for the autumn (October 2019) and dovetailing perfectly with the We Two Boys exhibition, visitors to The Hepworth will be able to study the work of Christina Quarles, the American artist whose abstract paintings often capture human bodies in various states. Quarles is known for her deliberately ambiguous approach to her work: “In a bid to explore fluidities in identity and create images that that disrupt the hetero-normative, male and predominantly white, history of painting.”
And if all of this isn’t enough to satisfy your creative yearnings, the summer will also see the opening of The Hepworth Art Garden. Designed by Landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith, the garden will provide an oasis of colour and a new sense of landscape at Wakefield’s post-industrial heart. This new addition will undoubtedly guarantee that The Hepworth Wakefield continues to attract visitors and artists from across the globe, but also further confirm Wakefield, Yorkshire – and indeed the North – as not only a powerhouse, but as culturally as rich as anywhere.
Main image: The Hepworth Wakefield © Hufton + Crow.
The Hepworth Wakefield holds several art fairs and markets throughout the year, in addition to a comprehensive programme of workshops for both children and adults. Full details can be found here.