Yorkshire Sculpture Park

As part of our course with University we were able to go on a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield as part of our artist research for the second project “Environment & Context/Where Art Belongs”. It was useful to be able to look at a medium in art, sculpture, that I don’t normally engage with and don’t make myself, especially in a countryside setting. Viewing art in a very different context to the typical “white box” gallery is a really different experience and can change the way we view the work and the meanings we get from it. 
I didn’t make any sketches while I walked around, because I wanted to just focus on taking in my surroundings and being in the moment looking at the work or the scenery. The weather was really good – cold clear autumn – and because we were there all day it was nice to see the changing light on the work. 

The artist Not Vital was the main exhibitor at the park, with a lot of outdoor sculpture as well as the indoor galleries. His work was really abstract, and dealt with interesting ideas about relationships between people or between objects and landscape. Not all of his work was ‘my style’ but I still tried to engage with it as best I could. 

The writing wasn’t immediately visible as we walked past, but I liked it and felt like it made the sculpture more interesting
These faces on poles were quite a sinister entrance to the gallery space. I did like how the casts or however he had made them had been broken or mounded to distort the faces- it reminded me of making papier-mâché puppets in primary school where my brother’s puppet’s balloon popped and so he made it into a monster
The drawing/painting on the back wall is meant to resemble the famous scene of the Last Supper, and even though I didn’t immediately notice this, I do like the way he’s making that association
I like the shape of these heads, how they look perfectly round at first until you explore further, and the metallic quality that distorts the room around them
I would have overlooked this Snowball if I hadn’t looked at the gallery information, but I like how pretty it was and the simplicity of the glass
I like this sculpture even if it’s quite weird, with the letters spelling out the name of the philosopher Nietzsche
There were various other artists exhibiting that I took an interest in, including Kate Daudy, Bob and Roberta Smith, and KAWS. 

KAWS’s statues are really strange and stood out against the natural landscape. I liked how in this one even though he was covering his face, the X’s for his eyes are on the back of his hands
There’s something strangely child-like and yet depressing about his work- like they could be children’s toys but have adult emotions and problems
I really loved how they are all made out of wood- the process to make and construct each sculpture must be very labour intensive. They could have easily been made from plastic, plaster, concrete or something, but the wood panels gives them a warmth and a carefully made quality that added to my interest in this work
This particular sculpture really loomed over me, which was an interesting if a little frightening experience
Their posture makes them look as though they with a blink of an eye they could begin moving
I love the fonts and colours Bob and Roberta Smith use in all their work, and especially on this slogan in particular that I strongly agree with. It was fun to see this work in an environment when I’ve previously only seen it as a flat, 2D graphic or photo
I enjoyed how Kate Daudy’s work was almost like a commentary of her opinions on objects and places in the park, almost sarcastic or poking fun at things we overlook or take for granted
Not only is her work pretty, but I love the how dainty the writing is and how she makes it work with the environment. We also found some work scattered around the park, including on two park benches by the river although these were damaged. It ties together the first two project briefs we have been given at university perfectly
In some ways, I prefer how this is more obviously a piece of work with it having a background and a quite traditional shape. However, from a distance I misread the word ‘sincerity’ for ‘snobbery’… does this say something about me, or about the work I’ve seen today?
Overall I quite enjoyed spending a day at the sculpture park even if I didn’t do a lot of work in reaction to it. It was good just to have time to immerse myself in art, which I like to do by visiting galleries every once in a while, and to gain new influences I wouldn’t have had previously. It was also nice to come when there are a lot of sculptures I haven’t seen before- it’s often the case for me that I just see the same things over and over at YSP. Contemporary art is a very wide and varied category, and today has made me realise how the environment in which an artwork is places can often be just as important as the work itself, so in this project I need to consider where I put my work, why, and what messages this communicates. 

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