New blog post. Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Femme 1970 by Joan Miro Yorkshire Sculpture Park West Bretton Wakefield Yorkshire

We got up early this Saturday and made our way to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a lovely open-air gallery out by West Bretton, near Wakefield. We had a smashing day, even though it is one of the most bloody difficult places to get to on public transport. We managed to get the bus from Huddersfield, after a mooch around the second-hand market, and made it just fine to the Black Bull in Midgely. But it was quite a walk after that. At least half an hour to West Bretton, with a two-year-old on your shoulders, and then another thirsty walk through the village. Anna was proper parched by then and there were no shops open and we had to walk into the local cricket ground to ask directions.

We made it, though, in good humour and the weather was delightful, a proper summer’s day. The park itself was nice, lots of handsome trees and some quite impressive sculpture. I know it’s stupid that I have lived here a good deal of my life and hadn’t realised, that there was actually a very large gallery there and a most impressive one too, cut into the side of a hill, all concrete and angular, maybe like a small airport terminal in northern Spain or suchlike. Indeed, there are actually several galleries dotted about, but before all that we found a nice cafe serving some excellent coffee and sat outside in the sun and gazed across the grass at the sheep and at the lake all glimmering in the middle distance. Anna discovered a delicious licorice ice cream and all was good. There was a really nice shop too, not too much fine art, which is becoming less suprising, but a lot of good design and illustration (Tom Frost, Claire Hartigan and Jen Franklin stood out), and a lot of impresssive children’s books.

Star of the show in the exhibition space was Juan Miro, and the YSP was staging the first major exhibition of his sculpture in Britain. I know it’s a sculpture park it there were quite a lot of his painting hung on the walls. I’ve often enjoyed looking at prints of Miro, I don’t really know why, but they are much more detailed in the fresh, with quite interesting brush strokes giving them a greater depth I suppose. The colours, as you might expect, are amazing, lots of very primary acrylics, lashed on to some really high quality paper. The sculptures were also good, although they can be seperated into two discernable types. The first I liked a lot: large, bronze, figurative sculputres, rendered smoothly and painted black. We liked these. The second lot: rougher, surreal, using readymade objects, I cared for far less. Button, our delightful little girl, quite liked both, again she likes the freedom of a gallery space and finds the objects very intresting. She also had lots of fun exploring the grounds, running around the greens and trees. We walked down towards the lake and then through a field of sheep which she enjoyed very much indeed, as this picture taken just after will attest.

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