An exhibition has opened at the Hepworth Gallery to display the artists in the running to win a £30,000 prize. The gallery in Wakefield, West Yorkshire celebrates the life and work of artist and sculptor Barbara Hepworth, who was born in the city. The prize aims to “demystify contemporary sculpture” and to recognise a British artist who has made a significant contribution.
The new prize was announced in May following the gallery’s fifth anniversary. Designed by architect David Chipperfield, the gallery overlooks the River Calder and has become an iconic hub of creativity in the city.
The works featured in the exhibition are by Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon, Helen Marten and David Medalla. All of the artists are displaying exciting new works.
Barlow’s works are monumental constructions, whereas Steven Claydon creates sensory pieces. Marten has been nominated for this year’s Turner Prize and will display her detailed and intricate sculptures. Medalla’s work explores the boundaries of art and gives visitors the opportunity to collaborate in the artistic process.
Visitors to the gallery are encouraged to vote for a people’s choice award and a winning artist is to be announced at an award dinner in the gallery next month.
Granddaughter of Barbara Hepworth and art historian Sophie Bowness said the award is “a fitting legacy to… one of Britain’s greatest sculptors”.
Hepworth attended Leeds School of Art in the 1920s and later opened a studio in Cornwall, where she was a leading figure in a colony of contemporary artists who resided in St Ives during the Second World War. She was awarded a CBE in 1958 and honorary degrees from Birmingham, Leeds, Exeter, Oxford, London and Manchester.
The sculptor was known for her abstract and contemporary works which exemplify the idea of the modernist movement. In 1975, Hepworth passed away as the result of a fire at her studio.