The Hepworth Gallery has been such a fantastic addition to the cultural scene in Yorkshire and in the comparatively short time it has been open I’ve seen some fantastic exhibitions there. I went along recently to the spring installations by Alice Channing, Linder and Jessica Jackson Hutchins.
I wasn’t sure what to make of the Jessica Hutchins gallery, large painted canvasses hanging over metal ladders that made me think of a team of painter and decorators who were really frustrated abstract artists and left these canvases draped over their equipment while they’d gone out for a lunchbreak. There were also weird shaped ceramics and everyday objects like a sofa that had been turned into sort of half painting – half sculpture like pieces. The colours were beautiful and the pieces had a sort of abandoned, disconnecting feel to them but I was unclear what any of it actually meant.
Linder had a variety of work on display, we all really liked a gallery of mashed up vogue covers that merged models from the 1970’s with household objects in an odd but playful way and provided a nice link through to the everyday items that had been used in the Hutchins gallery. There were also light boxes mixing dancers with annimals showing I think different aspects of form and shape. This led through to a piece that I really liked which was a collaboration between Linder and the Northern Ballet called Ultimate Form that visually mixed dance, music and colour in an interpretation of Hepworth’s Sculptures. You could see a looped feed of the dance piece being practised and I found it really hypnotic and I’m sure the premier of it today would have been fascinating to see.
The highlight for me though of the exhibition was the gallery containing Alice Channer’s new work which seemed to play with the whole idea of form and material. Plastics, metals, resin, silk and other materials were hooked, stretched, shaped and formed in strange curves and angles apparently influenced by invertebrate deep sea lifeforms that are dependent on their body shape by the impact of the sea environment around them. Weirdly though dotted throughout the work were ‘severed’ fingers that appeared either on top of some of the pieces or randomly on the walls. I’ve got no idea what was happening here other than perhaps to contrast the structured human form to the looser aquatic influenced curves of Alice’s work. I found it utterly beguiling.
At first I didn’t think there was any connection between the three gallerys but perhaps the idea of form, movement and everyday objects were interconnecting threads drawing the seemingly disparate pieces into one coherent whole. Clever stuff.