Connect>Create 2008

Barbara Hepworth, 'Icon II' (1960)

Hepworth's work is renowned internationally; some of her work is exhibited in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


All her sculptures reference nature as well as being influenced by the theme of mother and child. As a mother of three she never gave up her work. Quite the contrary she became more stimulated by the revolution of birth and how the child lies within the bounds of the womb. She produced round pure form with real unity; her harmony with the work captivates the viewer.  Swirling whirlpools of glossy and shiny marble pull you in and give you the feeling of calmness, you want to touch the slick and silk like stone.


Carving Icon II out of solid marble takes a huge bolt of confidence and precision. The beautiful round form takes on different shapes as you walk around it, light bounces off and gives a slightly different perspective to its shape.  The indentations on the side of the form make you observe at different angles and you can see diversity; shapes of faces come to my attention.  There is a steady flow of balance and unbroken composure. This is a difficult work to comment on as it is so abstract maybe it conjures up ideas of solidity, containment and emptiness. 


The empty space is both part of the sculpture and part of the surroundings. It looks body size, like something I might pick up but it would be too heavy.  Iím drawn by the different surfaces, carved, sliced, it looks as though she sliced effortlessly like cutting butter. I wonder if itís complete, it has a sense of form emerging. Whiteness suggests purity.


This cool and self confident form is what Hepworth is all about.  She made over 600 hundred sculptures with dignified skill and composure. The wonderful artist put Wakefield on the map; their dedication to her will be a museum of her unseen works.  The angel of the north sadly died in a fire in 1975 in Tewyn studio. Some of the forms she created were all about the human form and how vulnerable we are and susceptible to everyday life, but her sculptures stand firm to all elements of criticism and continue to build her reputation.


By Sharon Baker, student from the BA (hons) Contemporary Fine Art Course, Hull School of Art and Design 2009


Dame Barbara Hepworth

(b. Wakefield, Yorkshire 1903 Ė d. 1975)

1920-21 Leeds School of Art

1921-24 Royal college of Art


Document icon Learning article provided by: Ferens Art Gallery, Hull | 
This content is licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA

Accessibility Statement | Terms of Use | Site Map

Copyright © My Learning 2018. All Rights Reserved

Website by: Grapple