Stanley Spencer – Of Angels and Dirt – Hepworth Wakefield

When I went to Cookham earlier in the year, it was a lovely warm day and the little gallery was a joy:  Springtime in Cookham

But, yesterday’s trip had a very different feel to it – weather was a bit grim and somehow, Spencer’s work left me feeling a little despondent at first. In fact, it felt a little like this:

Spencer, Stanley, 1891-1959; Self Portrait
Spencer, Stanley; Self Portrait; Stanley Spencer Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/self-portrait-27356

It is well curated and there are self portraits, landscapes, portraits, gardens, industry, and resurrections galore – something for everyone!  Lots of space to walk around as well. But, I did cheer up with some of Stanley’s early work, especially these two; not because of their theme, but because the style was remininscent of David Bomberg’s earlier work.  This is not surprising as they were at the Slade together and we all part of that exciting group of artists from my favourite period. Here we have:

St Veronica Unmasking Christ, 1921 and Christ Overturning the Money Changers’ Table, 1921

Both were to have been the wings of a triptych and Spencer echoes the palette and the forms along with the upraised arms.

This video from The Guardian is rather quirky and the narration of Spencer’s words do take you into his world – there is an audio guide that is just extracts from Spencer’s writings to accompany certain works.  It became a little disturbing towards the end, with the letters to his soon-to-be ex wife  and his desire for his mistress, Patricia Preece.

What is rubbish to some people is not to me

First visit to the Hepworth and it won’t be the last: an impressive venue for any exhibition, it had to be said!

 

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