After delving into the archives of ceramicist Toshiko Takaezu almost two weeks ago I felt it would be fitting today to admire another creative from the past, this time visiting the work of sculptor Barbara Hepworth. Those of you who are familiar with Barbara’s work will acknowledge we are delving a little further into history with her passing in 1975, however I don’t think her creations are particularly dated, more timeless in their construction.
Much like the Eames duo who were also making significant strides as designers in the forties, Barbara adopted a simplistic and clean cut approach to creating. Focusing her works around the textures that each material offered, she presented her creations with a contemporary form which liberated the beauty found within the details of the material.
Creating works years ahead of her time, Barbara drew influence from both her experiences at the Royal College of Art in London and the year she spent in Rome learning the craft of a traditional Stonemason. It was her flagship exhibition on her return to London where she began to get recognised on a parallel with the carving movement that modernist sculptors such as Epstein and Gaudier-Brzeska had started.
However it wasn’t until very late in her lifetime that Barbara began to get the appreciation that her works deserved. She acclaimed widespread recognition throughout England and was considered worldwide as the finest female sculptor of her era, so this is certainly somebody I felt we should recognise in our own growing archive.
If you’ve got a little time to spare I’d urge you all to go learn a little more about Barbara and the work she dedicated her life to. She stands out as a real innovator in her field, so I think it’s important to honour not only her creations but her persistent self belief and her wonderful imagination too.