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Hepworth Research Network Launch

12 - 13 March 2020

The launch of the Hepworth Research Network brought together invited participants from across the fields of art history, fine art, curation, conservation and music to share knowledge and encourage cross-disciplinary discussions around Barbara Hepworth. Uniting these different perspectives, the event demonstrated new avenues for research which future events will seek to build upon.

Photo: Nick Singleton

Introductions and Keynote Lecture

Professor Michael White (University of York) ‘Introduction to the Hepworth Research Network’
Dr Anneké Pettican (University of Huddersfield) ‘A Note on the Role of the Artist’
Keynote Lecture: Laura Davies (Senior Sculpture Conservator) ‘Revealing Hepworth’s True Colours’

Panel 1: Materials

Dr Chris Stephens (Director, The Holburne Museum, Bath)

Chris Stephens discusses the diverse range of Hepworth’s materials, particularly her surfaces and their physical and visual qualities, looking especially at the later work of the 1960s & 70s in comparison with earlier periods.

Derek Pullen (Director, SculpCons Ltd)

Derek Pullen speaks from a conservation perspective on Hepworth’s use of wood and the opportunities for research this raises.

 

Dr Hannah Higham (Curator, Henry Moore Foundation)

Hannah Higham discusses the inspiration both Hepworth and Moore found in prehistoric dolmens in the 1920s and 1930s when direct carving was a primary concern, and how later work by Moore continued to explore the formal concerns evoked by such early experiences in a variety of materials and methods: stone – bronze – page.

Panel 2: Upcoming Projects

Natalie Rudd (Senior Curator, Arts Council Collection)

Natalie Rudd takes Hepworth’s Reconstruction 1947 – the first work by a sculptor to be acquired into the Arts Council Collection – as a starting point to consider some of the challenges faced by women working in post-war British sculpture, looking at entrenched notions of macho sculpture, art school experiences and balancing sculpture-making with parenting.

Sara Matson (Curator, Tate St Ives)

Sara Matson discusses the Palais de Danse, Hepworth’s second St Ives studio, acquired by the artist in the early 1960s, why she took it on, Hepworth’s use of it and what she made there, as well as its conservation and future curatorial use.

Jo Baring (Director and Curator, The Ingram Collection)

Jo Baring discusses the questions raised by the Barbara Hepworth episode of the new podcast series ‘Sculpting Lives: Women and Sculpture’, including those of gender, branding and legacy.

Panel 3: Form and Absence

Tessa Jackson (Sculpture Conservator, Jackson Sculpture Conservation Ltd)

Tessa Jackson speaks on the restoration of sculptures with string.

Professor Monty Adkins (Professor of Experimental Electronic Music, University of Huddersfield)

Monty Adkins discusses sculpture and sound art, with a particular focus on 3D sound, and how this can be used to think about Hepworth.

Rosanne Robertson (Artist)

Rosanne Robertson discusses their relationship with the landscapes of West Yorkshire and West Cornwall since relocating and being based in St Ives at Porthmeor Studios. They discuss the contours, hollows and holes of the work of Barbara Hepworth, the Queer body in the landscape and the idea of occupying negative space.

Panel 4: Colour

Alice Strang (Senior Curator, National Galleries of Scotland)

Alice Strang discusses Form and Colour: Friendship, Patronage and Collaboration between Barbara Hepworth, Leslie Martin and Sadie Speight, drawing on previously unpublished correspondence between the three.

Melanie Rolfe (Sculpture Conservator, Tate)

Melanie Rolfe talks about the contents of Hepworth’s studios in St Ives which relate to the production and colouring of the bronze sculptures, particularly the chemicals and other items in the cupboard in the Plaster Studio.

 

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Lyndsey Morgan (Director, Patina Art Collection Care Ltd)

Lyndsey Morgan talks about Hepworth’s radical use of colour as it relates to artificial chemical patinas on her bronze sculptures.

Panel 5: Beyond Sculpture

Stephen Feeke (PhD Candidate, Courtauld Institute of Art)

Stephen Feeke discusses the new style of tachiste drawing Hepworth started to make in black ink in 1957, and the possible links between these works and her sculpture of the same period.

Dr Jenna Lundin Aral (Hepworth Catalogue Raisonné Project)

Jenna Lundin Aral speaks on the cataloguing of Hepworth’s drawings and paintings, with particular reference to the process of preparing the catalogue raisonné of drawings.

Dr Clare Nadal (Assistant Curator, The Hepworth Wakefield)

Clare Nadal discusses Hepworth’s library and the role of reading in both the creation of her works, and their future interpretation.

Deborah Cane (Conservation Manager Sculpture and Installation Art, Tate)

Deborah Cane highlights the holistic approach to the conservation of the Hepworth Museum and Garden, including not only the sculptures themselves, but the greenhouse, summer house and external marble carving area.

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