The Hepworth Wakefield

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Pink early morning, the just-past-full moon still high in the western sky. The past few nights crisp and starry, the days sunny. Woodland wildflowers in bloom, an explosion of foliage soon to soften the sharp outlines of the hills. Still wading through pictures from the recent, all too short trip to the UK.

Before leaving the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle for points north-west, a visit to the Hepworth Wakefield, opened in May 2011, dedicated to the sculptor. The building, stark and modern, set along the river, echoing historic mills and warehouses, part of the restoration of the harbor area. A bridge takes visitors from the parking lot (pay to park, get in for free), across the River Calder to the museum and sculpture gardens. Outside, the museum grounds and river front activity invite lingering. A cloud installation that functions as a performance space/stage, open to the community. A tribute to the industrial heritage, a moment captured in time, hand-painted fabric wrap, a life-size ghost image of a 19th Century watermill. Hepworth’s sculptures facing the water, dwarfed by the building. Inside, a sequence of rooms, exhibit spaces flooded with natural light, views of the river and gardens. Galleries dedicated to Hepworth’s plaster casts and studio contents, a glimpse into her process. Spaces for guest artists, new works created in response to Hepworth’s engagement with the landscape and the unique features of each gallery. Luminescent collages displayed in light boxes, a tribute to Hepworth’s love of dance and nature, intertwined. Collage sculptures of found objects and ceramics. Sculptures in metal and bronze, explorations of time and place. A Scandinavian connection discovered. Something to explore on a future trip – a Hepworth at the United Nations building in NYC, SIngle Form, a tribute to Hepworth’s friend and collector Dag Hammarskjold.

Lunch at the café, a spot of wifi and a brief browse in the gift shop made it a perfect stop before hitting the road again, the left-side driving already becoming easier, many wrong turns still ahead, eyes and heart open to the experience.


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