The Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is memorialising its 40th anniversary in the way only sculpture enthusiasts could: with countless exhibitions, commissions and events, including a 40-hour long party in the summer (not for the faint-hearted). Gearing up for the celebration, a more introspective event opens tomorrow in the Upper Gallery. ‘Anne Purkiss: Sculptors at Yorkshire Sculpture Park’ pays homage to the many renowned sculptors who have contributed work to the parkk over the years. Two important pieces from Sir Anthony Caro (pictured here in 1991) once towered over YSP’s rugged lakeside. Both Dream City (1996) and Promenade (1996) were proud and lonely works made from rusted steel, appearing starkly manmade against the lake. Having worked with Henry Moore (perhaps the most renowned of the Yorkshire sculptors) early in his career, it's fitting that Caro was picked by Purkiss to kick off this exhibition. Photography: Anne Purkiss‘Anne Purkiss: Sculptors at Yorkshire Sculpture Park’ is on view from 4 March – 4 June. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4JX. For more information, visit the website
Back in 1991, YSP launched a major exhibition of Lynn Chadwick's work (pictured here in 1995). Chadwick, who passed away in 2003, was a self-trained, extremely skilled metalworker. In the 1950s, critic Herbert Read coined the phrase a 'geometry of fear', which he applied to the work of a group of young post-war artists including Chadwick, many of whom have featured at the park. The tortured figures, alien shapes and imposing angels of Chadwick's work would have appeared particularly drastic and otherworldly against the undulating valleys of the Bretton Estate
Another 'geometry of fear' proponent, Dame Elisabeth Frink, is captured here by Purkiss in 1990. The post-war sculptor's work can still be seen at YSP, perhaps most movingly in the Camellia House gallery, where a Frink bust moodily looks on among row upon row of camellia trees
Purkiss captured environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy in 2002, leaning on an almighty stone from his Chalk Stone Trails in the South Downs. In 2007, the YSP curated its most ambitious exhibition yet, revealing the breadth and direction of Goldsworthy's practise. The showcase featured new permanent outdoor commissions, indoor stone, tree and clay installations, together with sheep paintings and blood drawings in the Longside Gallery
The most recent photograph included in Purkiss' archival collection is that of Sophie Ryder, seen here in 2016 with her 1988 Boxing Hares. After an extensive exhibition in the early 90s, Ryder's monumental sculptures still adorn the YSP grounds today. Her Sitting (2007) and Crawling hares (1999) saucily navigate their way around the Camellia House gallery/greenhouse
Arguably the most well known of all of Purkiss' subjects, Sir Antony Gormley is seen here in 1995 working on his signature human form sculptures. His work with YSP is extensive, but arguably his most memorable exhibition was back in 2005, a mesmerising installation comprising a sea of 40,000 miniature terracotta figures and has been described by the artist as ‘25 tons of clay energised by fire, sensitised by touch and made conscious by being given eyes'
One of the only sculptors featured in the exhibition who hasn't had her work seen in some capacity at YSP, Maggi Hambling is nonetheless an important inclusion, described here with character by Purkiss in 2014. Known for her sculptures as well as her haunted self-portraits, Hambling is a fabulously controversial figure, renowned for her foul mouth and political involvement almost as much as her art work. Purkiss' image sees the phrase 'Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood' scrawled on the wall, which seems to capture the resolute expression painted on Hambling's face
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