‘You never liked arrogant sculptures nor fierce forms- but I do. I have deliberately studied the photos of my early dreams of large works done in 1938-39 in maquette form…It has taken 25yrs to find the space time and money; and meanwhile those dreams have matured and so have my abilities. This is not retrograde - it is for me, a fulfilment of my life long ideas…’ (Barbara Hepworth, quote reproduced in Curtis and Wilkinson, op. cit., p.141)
Of primary importance to Hepworth was a retention of the tactile element of carving and making when considering bronze as a medium. This is undoubtedly the case in the present work, which was initially constructed using a metal frame of stacked squares and then lusciously applied with plaster using a putty knife (fig.1). The composition is geometric, erect, and open, allowing light to play across the furrowed, textural planes of the squares, stream through the piercings, and pool in the recessed circles. As the sun moves around the piece, the pattern of the squares is shadowed on its totemic pair, creating interest and variety in immeasurable forms. Hepworth has paid particular attention to the finish of the bronze - the patina highlighting the rich texture and shifting from grey to green depending on the play of light.
We are grateful to Dr Sophie Bowness for her kind assistance in cataloguing the present work.
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