5 of the Best – Yorkshire Sculpture

Blog written and researched by @tom_ashurst and @richiewear13!Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield

The winner of the ArtFund Museum of the Year in 2014, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a unique, pioneering place that dots stimulating sculptures throughout more than 500 acres of rolling Yorkshire terrain. If you’re looking for somewhere to explore that will inspire you, then this is the place to go to.

Over the years YSP has had a diverse range of incredible sites, including Sir Anthony Caro’s abstract eye catching sculpture, Roger Hiorns’ Seizure which transformed an empty council flat with 75,000 litres of liquid copper sulphate and Yinka Shonibare’s colourful FABRIC-ATION exhibition which wowed visitors in 2013.

Currently at YSP one of the exhibitions that is causing the most excitement is Poppies: Wave. This 14-18 NOW exhibition is at YSP until January 2016 and is part of a UK-wide tour of the iconic poppy sculptures and is a beautiful and moving sight to see. Poppies: Wave is from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, the installation art placed in the moat of the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1.
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Hepworth, Wakefield

The Independent described The Hepworth as “one of the finest contemporary art museums in Europe”, and a visit there would immediately show you why.

With over 1,600 square metres of light-filled gallery spaces, The Hepworth Wakefield is the largest purpose-built exhibition space outside London. The gallery brings together work from Wakefield’s art collection, exhibitions by contemporary artists and rarely seen works by Barbara Hepworth.

Born in Wakefield in 1903 Barbara Hepworth, was one of the very few women to achieve international prominence with her modernistic style of sculpture. Many art galleries around the world house Hepworth’s work including Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Leeds Art Gallery, The Tate and the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington.

The Hepworth also has a nice little café that can be visited to refresh yourself, if you have time!

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Henry Moore Institute

Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is not only an award-winning exhibitions venue, research centre, library and sculpture archive, but the Institute hosts a year-round programme of exhibitions, conferences and lectures, as well as developing research and publications, to expand the understanding and scholarship of historical and contemporary sculpture.

Three beautiful gallery spaces host an ever-changing programme of exhibitions accompanied by tours, talks and events which explore sculpture from ancient to modern. Current exhibitions at the Henry Moore Institute include Paul Neagu: Palpable Sculpture, which runs until 8th November, and Object Lessons which runs until 3rd January 2016.

The Institute is part of the Henry Moore Foundation, a charity set up by Moore himself in 1977 to encourage public appreciation of sculpture. Sculpting in stone, wood and bronze, Henry Moore was born in Castleford, and had his first commission in 1928, to produce a sculpture relief for the newly opened Headquarters of London Transport at St James’s Underground building. His work is visible in many public sites across Europe and the United States, and beyond. His former home and studios form the headquarters of the Foundation in Perry Green, Hertfordshire.

As well as managing a specialist library, the Institute curates the British sculpture and archive collections of Leeds Museums & Galleries.

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Leeds Art Gallery

Leeds Art Gallery is a stunning building smack bang in the middle of Leeds, right next to Leeds Town Hall. The gallery is an innovative and exciting place to visit for people of all ages and has a dynamic, regularly-refreshed programme of exhibitions that dovetails nicely with their main collections.

It’s an exciting time for Leeds Art Gallery as it will be hosting the prestigious British Art Show 8 from 9th October until 10th January 2016. BAS8 will take over all the galleries here and will introduce a new generation of budding British artists to Yorkshire.

Leeds Art Gallery, along with the three places listed above, make up the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle. This is an ambitious project to showcase Yorkshire as the sculpture capital of Europe. With each of these four places being free to enter and all within 20 miles of one another, there’s no reason not to explore all four. What’s more is there is now a free sculpture bus that runs between YSP and the Hepworth too!

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Emma Stothard, Whitby

Emma Stothard is a Kingston-upon-Hull born sculptor whose eye-catching work has been exhibited in many stunning places across Yorkshire and the country.

Working with willow, bronze and galvanised wire, you can easily be forgiven for mistaking Emma’s animal sculptures for actual animals, such is their similarity. Her work includes sprightly hares, majestic stallions and grandiose deer. Her most recent work for the Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage is an eye catching pair of giant lobsters. These 9ft lobsters are positioned in the harbour and reflect the importance of lobster fishing in the area.

In 2013, Emma created some galvanised steel Wensleydale sheep sculptures to sit in the meadow of the Welcome to Yorkshire Chelsea Flower Show garden. The garden won a Silver Gilt that year and the patrons of the flower show regularly praised the three sheep – with many people asking to buy them for their garden there and then!

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