Yesterday, summer made a brief visit to England, so we headed off to enjoy the sun whilst we could. The Yorkshire Sculpture Park was the destination our first visit and well worth it. The Sculpture Park is pat of the 500 acre Bretton Estate Country Park located not many miles from Wakefield. The park consist of meadows, lakes, river wild woods formal garden and arboretum so lots to explore. The Sculpture Park is open all year and hosts an outdoor exhibition of sculptures, some exhibits permanent others just for a season, large individual pieces to fixed landscaped installations. There are also several Galleries with dedicated seasonal exhibitions, a shop and restaurant….but it was too nice a day to be inside so we concentrated on walking and exploring the sculptures in the park.
The largest collection must be the Henry Moore Bronze Collection of Sculptures. They sit well in the landscape setting of the park as this Bronze named “ Large Totem Head ” illustrates so well. Interpretation must be a personal decision and for me this particular piece (no disrespect) is more attractive from the rear than the front view. But that is the case with most of Moore’s sculptures, many can be defined at one glance others need study and others just leave some folk totally cold…..but there are plenty to view in this wonderfully sympathetic landscape setting…up close and personal or stand back to view, the choice is yours.
As I said, imagination is great for visualisation. This piece is known as “Oval with Points”…….a true description but stand away from the sculpture and I can see two young Otters on their hind legs, playing! Perhaps its just the light – what do you think?
The Park does indeed provide a variety of backdrops for the sculptures, some to my mind work far better than others
Magdalena Abakanowicz piece “ Seated Figures ”
Anthony Caro “ Promenade ”
Gormley’s “One and Other” and one from the Barbara Hepworth Collection.
Exploring the outer extremities of the Park is a must and walking through Oxley Bank wood you stumble across several more installations more fitting to the landscape. The first actually assists you to climb the bank through the woods…..it is by David Nash and is appropriately named “Seventy One Steps”, count them as you climb.
As you leave the wood you find set into a traditional Yorkshire Dry Stone Wall, 3 pits and in each is suspended a tree….”The Hanging Trees” the concept of Andy Goldsworthy.
It is hard to believe that this Country park is in the industrial and mining heart land of Yorkshire. The park is indeed an oasis but is also helped by the fact that it is surrounded by arable far land on all sides providing a buffer between towns, industry and wildlife…the view from the top of Oxley Bank are stunning…..
The next sculptural installation is a 21st century take on the Victorian Foley. Here on the highest point in the park is the creation of Winter/Horbelt which is named “The Basket”. I have to own up to being cynical about this piece (as with one or two other we will soon see). It is constructed from industrial gauge wire mesh, painted grey and has a spiral staircase within…..
….it has a commanding view so it is a little disappointing that once you climb the stairs to the top you see nothing but wire mesh….I imagine much like a prison!….The Basket is best viewed from afar
Whilst I am in a cynical mood the let me share this piece of ‘sculpture’ with you. It s called “Ash Blocks and Mortar”….well built certainly but is it art?
The following images can only be described as humorous, yes some new trees have been planted in the Arboretum….
Your eyes do not deceive……those really are toilets and urinals, dustbins and sinks.
I mentioned wildlife and indeed there are some Big Hares and Rabbits about the park…….
HARE TO-DAY ….WOMAN TOMORROW
But this is Busters favourite
…..BUT not on a dark night!
We spent the whole day there and only scratched the surface, apart from the Galleries there is much more in the grounds to enjoy including a formal garden (no Buster or Carla allowed so we missed those off the tour).
You pay up to £7.50 (the full day rate) to park your car and entrance is free. But like us you do need good weather to make the most of all the park has to offer.
12th JULY (posted 13th July)