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Wakefield’s art collection, now cared for by The Hepworth Wakefield, was founded in 1923 with the aim to nurture a public understanding of contemporary art. A progressive collecting policy saw the work of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore acquired early in their careers, as well as other leading artists of the day, such as Ben Nicholson, who have become synonymous with shaping modern British art. The gallery continues to support contemporary artists with recent acquisitions of work by artists including Anthea Hamilton and Veronica Ryan.
The works on display in this exhibition have been selected from the collection to reveal the wide variety of materials artists have used to express sculptural ideas – through abstraction and figuration, and from the early twentieth century up to the present day.
Several of the works are made from bronze, a traditional medium used by civilisations across the world for centuries, in part due to its durability. The bronze casting process, as employed by Hepworth in her later career, is explored further in our Hepworth at Work display. Throughout the twentieth century, artists from Anthony Caro to Bridget Riley explored new materials for sculpture and engaged in innovative ways with the processes of making. This display includes sculptures made from paper, plaster, plastic, ceramics, fabric and found objects.
The full list of artists work in A Contemporary Collection: Sculpture and Materials are: Caroline Broadhead, Reg Butler, Francis Butterfield, Anthony Caro, Halima Cassell, Lynn Chadwick, Henry Cliffe, Anthea Hamilton, Stanley William Hayter, Barbara Hepworth, Bruce McLean, Liamonis Mierins, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Betty Rea, Bridget Riley and Veronica Ryan.