Carrying on from where they left off at Christmas, Barnsley Council is continuing full steam ahead with its cultural offerings, this time with one of the country’s biggest artistic names, Henry Moore. Born and raised in the town that I have called home for the past five years, exhibitions of the Castleford artist’s work are still big draws and rightly so.
Moore was born into a working-class family; his father Raymond was a pit deputy and then under-manager of the Wheldale Colliery in the town. His father had an interest in the arts, however, and a determination that his sons would not work in the mines. In Alice Gostick, Moore also had a teacher at Castleford Secondary School who supported his artistic ambitions.
This time it is a touring exhibition from The Sainsbury Centre collection which has just arrived at Barnsley’s Cooper Gallery, which will run through to June. The Sainsbury Centre is a ‘genre-defying’ art museum with world-class collections and a unique perspective on how art can foster cultural dialogue and exchange. It is one of the most important public university art galleries in Britain.
The Sainsbury Centre was founded in 1973 at the University of East Anglia (UEA) with the support of one of the nation’s great philanthropic families, Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury. They donated their extraordinary art collection, which includes works dating from pre-history to the late 20th century from across the globe.
Moore was a semi-abstract sculpture artist known for pioneering a new vision of modern sculpture. He is best known for his monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world, including at the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but his work was much more than that and includes carvings, drawings, prints and designed textiles and tapestries, too.
Henry Moore: Threads of Influence
The exhibition, Henry Moore: Threads of Influence, spans the length of his esteemed career from early drawings and carvings to iconic drawings and late prints. It demonstrates the multiple facets of Moore’s practice. It explores his influences over the years, from artists such as Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Jacob Epstein, to ancient sculpture from Mexico and beyond.
With over 31 pieces on display and on loan in this touring exhibition from the Sainsbury Centre, the exhibition includes life drawings of the human form that laid the foundations of Moore’s sculptural practice.
The exhibition will also feature drawings from Moore’s time as an official war artist, which were inspired by the scenes in the London Underground during the Blitz. I was fortunate to see the exhibition at the Hepworth, a couple of years ago, where Moore’s work was shown in combination with that of photographer Bill Brandt. These and his drawings of colliery workers are well worth seeing.
Visit the exhibition at The Cooper Gallery, Barnsley
Jon Finch, head of culture and visitor economy at Barnsley Museums, said:
“Moore’s work is iconic, and we are very privileged to have an artist of his calibre on display in The Cooper Gallery. The exhibition sits perfectly alongside more of his pieces in the gallery’s permanent collection, which will be on display at the same time, providing a greater understanding of his work.
“He has strong links to Yorkshire, and people can discover more of his work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield and in the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.”
Councillor Robert Frost, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said:
“Having the works of Henry Moore on display here in Barnsley will spark plenty of conversations among those visiting Barnsley town centre over the next few months.
“A lot has changed in Barnsley over the past year and there has never been a better time to visit. As well as a rich cultural offer, both in the town centre and in our museums and galleries, we have now got a great mix of activities across the whole town centre with popular leisure venues like Superbowl UK and Cineworld UK, cultural venues like Experience Barnsley and the Cooper Gallery, and many new shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants.”
The exhibition has been made possible as a result of the government indemnity scheme. Barnsley Museums would like to thank HM Government for providing government indemnity and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging this indemnity.