Brimham Rocks inspire Clare Woods' new exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield

PUBLISHED: 16:42 21 October 2011 | UPDATED: 21:39 20 February 2013

Artist Clare Woods at work in her studio

Artist Clare Woods at work in her studio

The Yorkshire landscape has inspired a major new exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield. Jo Haywood reports

The weird yet wonderful rock formations at Brimham, near Harrogate, look like they have been carved by giant creative hands, transforming the surrounding landscape into a natural gallery.

Unlike other galleries, however, you have to brave the notoriously unpredictable North Yorkshire weather to view the art. But for the less hardy, there is now a warm, dry yet equally magnificent alternative found at The Hepworth Wakefield.

The gallery, which opened in May and has already almost doubled its annual visitor target of 150,000, commissioned painter Clare Woods to create a new exhibition inspired by Brimham Rocks to run from October 22nd through to January 29th.

Measuring up to 10 metres long and six metres high, the work she has produced responds to the architectural scale of the gallery while, at the same time, exploring the work of 20th century British artists who share her interest in the landscape as well as natural forms.

Clares exhibition explores the Yorkshire landscape and particular works from our permanent collection, said Simon Wallis, director of The Hepworth. Using photographs taken at Brimham Rocks and Ilkley Moor as a starting point for her paintings, she exploits her fascination with the elemental power of the landscape and our emotional relationship with it.

Im sure this new exhibition will have a particular resonance with our local and regional audiences, who have the opportunity to see exciting new landscapes inspired by the stunning terrain of the region from one of Britains rising talents.

Visually ambiguous, disturbing and claustrophobic, Woods large-scale works transcribe in enamel, oil and aluminium what she sees as magical elements of the landscape in the form of rock formations, natural pools and twisted vegetation.

She uses both abstract and figurative details united by overlying webs of paint and multiple layers of enamel to create lush, reflective surfaces.
Im very excited to be working with The Hepworth Wakefield, she said.

This is a unique opportunity to make new work on an ambitious scale in response to not only an amazing building and fascinating landscape but also an incredible collection of sculpture and painting.

As an integral part of her exhibition, Woods has selected works by Barbara Hepworth, Paul Nash, John Piper and Graham Sutherland from the Wakefield, Tate, Arts Council and British Council collections. This display explores her personal interest in the landscape and its manifestation in the work of 20th century British artists, and also creates a fascinating historical context for her own work.

t 5,000 square metres, The Hepworth Wakefield is the largest purpose-built art gallery to open in Britain since the Hayward Gallery in London in 1968. Set in the historic waterfront area of Wakefield on the banks of the River Calder, it features ten light-filled galleries offering permanent displays alongside ambitious and exciting temporary exhibitions.

Visitors to the Clare Woods exhibition will also be able to enjoy The Black Cloud, an outdoor artistic commission by Heather and Ivan Morison that
takes the form of an outdoor shelter for people to gather, relax and enjoy being entertained

Brimham Rocks inspires new giant painting

Artist Clare Woods has used photographs of rocks near Harrogate to inspire a giant painting.

The work depicting Brimham Rocks is to be displayed at the Hepworth in Wakefield.

BBC Look North's Cathy Killick reports

Want to know more?

The Hepworth is running a day trip to Brimham Rocks on Saturday November 12th from 9.30am-5pm followed by a talk at the gallery by writer and archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes biographer Dr Christine Finn, introducing the work of Hawkes in relation to the current exhibition by Clare Woods and focusing on landscape and archaeology. Tickets, priced 40, include return travel from the gallery, lunch in the restaurant and light refreshments at Brimham Rocks.

Renowned filmmaker John Wyver will introduce his new documentary focussing on the recent work of exhibiting artist Clare Woods at 7pm on Thursday December 15th. Tickets cost 5 and include sharing platters and bar service.

Clare Woods will be discussing her recent projects and the current Wakefield exhibition at 7pm on Thursday January 19th. Tickets are 5. New opening hours have now been introduced at The Hepworth Wakefield. It is open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday.

The print version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life

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