Saturday, 20 July 2013

My visit to Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

 Food for thought by Barbara Hepworth

As well as theatre posts I'm planning to blog about art/creative exhibitions which I've seen whether locally or nationally.  My aim is to eventually have a separate blog devoted to exhibitions.  I really would like to focus on the human interactions experienced from visiting an exhibition and how the arts can influence one's opinions and perceptions.

During June 2013 I paid a visit to the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.  I've always wanted to visit the gallery but not had the opportunity before. I was greeted by an impressive building by the River Calder.  I took tea in its cafe before embarking on the visits to the contemporary art galleries and afterwards visited its cute gift shop to buy some souvenirs of my visits.

Firstly I paid a visit to a visiting exhibition: Works of Haroon Mirza (b. 1977, London) whose renowned for its multimedia work with emphasis on sound, image and shapes.  The works draws one's attention by the means of visual and audios.  I was attracted to the aura of lights and this successfully caught my attention in order for me to engage my thoughts as to what Mirza was trying to achieve.  I didn't pay much attention on the objects themselves but the visuals.  It might suggest that the artist is encouraging visitors to think beyond the 'object' or works with the visuals being a prompt.

I then paid a visit to its 'listening station'.  The 'listening station' was a combination of electrical current sounds and the transmitted River Calder sounds along with the work's lighting.  Again the audio aspect of the work made me again to 'think beyond' and appreciate the unique expressions Mirza was portraying visually and audibly from his works.  His works are displayed at Hepworth until 29th September 2013.

The sensory experiences reminds me of the Olivier Award Winning lighting and staging of the National Theatre's production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time which is on in the London's West End.  As leading character of the play is autistic it's interesting how to use the senses including visuals can enhance an autistic mind's in order to interact on the stage and also share with the audiences too.

In all Mirza's works have a 'sensory experience' (Source: Hepworth Gallery).  I feel this would benefit a wide range of audiences especially those who are autistic or experience learning difficulties including cognitive impairment.  I feel the sensory prompts of these works will encourage visitors to think about art and how this would relate to them personally.

Other highlights was looking at the works by James Tissot (1836-1902), Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) sculptures and William Scott (1913-89)Tissot painted to demonstrate the social issues during the Victorian Society. He focussed on costumes and landscapes of contrast from high society to working class! Scott was a renowned abstractor and used simple but iconic items in his work.  He was inspired by Braque and Picasso.  He had a number of struggles including having Alzheimer's but it's good to know that his legacy continues to support stem cell research for Alzheimer's.

I look forward to making a return visit to this wonderful contemporary art gallery.  For further information including present and forthcoming exhibitions please click onto the website.

Hepworth Gallery and the River Calder

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