• Kate Moores

Flaming Cows!

Grabbing an afternoon at the Hepworth Wakefield!

With another period of lockdown coming, I was very happy to grab an afternoon at the, always beautifully curated, Hepworth Wakefield.

Alongside the Barbara Hepworth and the Contemporary Collections there is currently a stunning (ticketed and covid-secure) exhibition of Bill Brandt & Henry Moore.

This chartered each artists career as they regularly converged and diverged ....but somehow always running in parallel like a pair of psychically linked twins!

It started in the 2nd world war where both artists were employed by the government as official war artists to document the countries experience of the war at home. Yes, this is where the Flaming Cows came in...one of a series of sketches (above) by Henry Moore, like a photographic cpntact sheet, of images he witnessed and considered reflecting in his art. This period featured the now famous photographs by Brandt and paintings by Moore of masses and masses of people sleeping in the London underground tunnels and a wide variety of cellars and crypts too.


This linked, in turn to both artists work depicting the workers and conditions of the coal mining industry. This was starkly contrasted with images of the new post-war homes being built, with planned, built-in kitchens and spartan, minimalist rooms.


Both artists became fascinated with the shapes of the human form and the abstraction of this into art...Moore's figures, always incredibly solid, even in his quick sketches, becoming bigger, more abstract and forming the immense shapes which we are all so used to seeing outside 1960's public buildings, reclining on concrete monoliths....I prefer to see them out in nature...like the rolling fields of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, not so far away!

I especially loved this tapestry/woven hanging, produced 40 years after the original image from 1943 of these sleeping figures, by Moore.


This was perhaps the most famous and favourite of Bill Brandt's work in the exhibition....


Elbow and knees as monoliths in the landscape!

As a figurative artist I was peering close and so inspired at Henry Moore's ability to give such heft and texture to the people he drew and seeing how these then were abstracted and stylised, not into paintings as I do, but into these incredible, tactile sculptures! Thrilling! IF you can...go before lockdown prevents it!


(My friend in the background taking fabulously arty shots!)


P.S. If you are facing boredom this lockdown, why not sign up to my newsletter Scribblings from The Studio where Ill keep you up to date with work in progress, interesting stuff I've found to share with you and even some fun, creative challenges to play along with!




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