Clare Woods takes on land, architecture and history in The Unquiet Head at The Hepworth

By Culture24 Reporter | 21 October 2011
A photo of a shadow-covered woman looking at three colourful abstract paintings
© Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian
Exhibition: Clare Woods – The Unquiet Head, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, October 22 2011 – January 29 2012

That Clare Woods began concocting her exhibition for The Hepworth by taking photographs of the sprawling terrains of Brimah Rocks and Ilkley Moor, two fine examples of Yorkshire’s often-glorious rural surroundings, is hardly a surprise.

Realised on works standing more than six metres high and ten metres wide, Woods' abstract paintings possess their own rugged beauty, channelling twisted vegetation, rocks and pools into huge canvasses as beguiling as the pastoral views from the windows they hang next to.

Accompanying them with pieces by Barbara Hepworth, Paul Nash, John Piper and Graham Sutherland from the Wakefield, Tate, Arts Council and British Council collections, this is a show embedded in the region and collection it is temporarily part of, and its chilling quality – her ideas can often seem like starting points for eerie fairytales, with names like The Intended and Tragic Head – imbues her historical subjects with a new atmospheric depth.

There's a sense of wonder in the way Woods discusses it as well, speaking of an "amazing building" within a "fascinating landscape".

Her spin on things is likely to add to the Hepworth's reputation for being unafraid to welcome large-scale contemporary thrills alongside its hallowed sculptural treasures, contextualising the old masters against the modern talent inspired by them.

  • Open 10am-5pm (closed Monday). Admission free.
More pictures from the show:

A photo of a shadow-covered woman looking at three colourful abstract paintings
The works explore Woods' infatuation with magical elements of landscape
© Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian
An image of an abstract piece of art full of colour appearing to show a sort of earth terrain against a pink and light blue backdrop
Mistaken Points (2011)
© Courtesy Clare Woods and Stuart Shave Modern Art, London
An image of a colourful abstract painting
The Bloody Kernel (2011)© Courtesy Clare Woods and Stuart Shave Modern Art, London
An image of a colourful abstract painting
Hopes Noes (2011)© Courtesy Clare Woods and Stuart Shave Modern Art, London
A photo of a woman standing in front of an abstract colourful painting inside a gallery
Clare Woods poses with one of her current works, Tragic Head© Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian
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