A feeling for Form: Modernism in British and New Zealand Art

A feeling for Form: Modernism in British and New Zealand Art

Exhibition Details

It hardly seems radical now, but when Barbara Hepworth began drilling through stone to create pierced sculptures, she was breaking new ground. Hepworth viewed the solid object and the spaces defined within it as having a balanced relationship. While much of Hepworth's work is resolutely abstract, her forms are a direct response to the stones and the swooping undulations and striations of the land forms of south-east England, where she spent much of her working life. On holiday on the coast of Cornwall, she said she had felt like a bird flying over magnificent sculptures, the shapes of the rocks and coast remaining clear in her mind. Her love of the landscape was instilled on childhood holidays exploring Yorkshire with her father, moving over its contours, touching, seeing and feeling through her hand and eye. Similar surfaces and shapes were transformed in the work of her husband, painter Ben Nicholson.

While the literal interpretation of the human form rarely emerged in Hepworth's work, it was the central focus for Henry Moore. He mapped the curves of the human body as if they were contours on a map, simplifying their outlines so that they appear monolithic in scale.

Whereas Moore's figures are always identifiably human, John Tunnard and Graham Sutherland created amorphous forms that lie, leap or dance in the air, while Paul Nash's stones and other natural detritus rise up to take on a character of their own.

Terry Frost created abstract forms in solid, bright colours defined by the reach of his body. Encouraged by Victor Pasmore, he spent hours studying Rubens at the National Gallery, drawn not only by the sensuality of his nudes but also by the abstract dynamics of his picture making.

The influence of British Modernism can be found in New Zealand artists, including Colin McCahon, Milan Mrkusich, Arnold Wilson, James Ross and Nelson Thompson. Taught by Henry Moore in London, Thompson described the drive for abstraction within Modernism; 'I sought to find the structural content in a chosen subject, searching out the essential forms and composing them harmoniously in a way that expressed a personal vision'.

Date
Curated by
Mary Kisler
Location
Main Gallery
Cost
Free entry

Related Artworks

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Not on display

Torso II (Torcello)
Torso II (Torcello)

Barbara Hepworth

Production date
1958
Medium
bronze
Size (h x w)
900 x 520 x 150 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of George Wooller, 1963
Accession no
1963/17
View Artwork

Not on display

Standing and reclining figures
Standing and reclining figures

Henry Moore

Production date
1950
Medium
colour lithograph
Size (h x w)
295 x 241 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1952
Accession no
1952/24/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Family Group
Family Group

Henry Moore

Production date
1950
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
279 x 216 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1953
Accession no
1953/16/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Standing Figures
Standing Figures

Henry Moore

Production date
1950
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
133 x 205 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1952
Accession no
1952/24/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Study for a family group
Study for a family group

Henry Moore

Production date
1945
Medium
bronze
Size (h x w)
165 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki purchased 1948
Accession no
M1948/5
View Artwork

On display

Landscape of Bleached Objects
Landscape of Bleached Objects

Paul Nash

On display

Production date
circa 1934
Medium
oil on canvas
Size (h x w)
620 x 747 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1994
Accession no
M1994/7
View Artwork

Not on display

Eroded sea forms, Poverty Bay
Eroded sea forms, Poverty Bay

Nelson Thompson

Production date
1953
Medium
pen, wax, watercolour
Size (h x w)
355 x 430 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1993
Accession no
1993/23
View Artwork

Not on display

Holiday
Holiday

John Tunnard

Production date
1947
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
494 x 760 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2000
Accession no
M2000/30
View Artwork

On display

He Tangata, He Tangata
He Tangata, He Tangata

Arnold Manaaki Wilson

On display

Production date
1956
Medium
totara
Size (h x w)
1170 x 360 x 300 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1993
Accession no
1992/33/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Titirangi cupboard door
Titirangi cupboard door

Colin McCahon

Production date
circa 1953
Medium
oil on plywood
Size (h x w)
685 x 545 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Jacqueline Amoamo, 2004
Accession no
2004/42
View Artwork

Not on display

Focal point
Focal point

John Tunnard

Production date
1943
Medium
oil on board
Size (h x w)
1250 x 1560 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1991
Accession no
M1991/31
View Artwork

Not on display

Articulated Forms
Articulated Forms

Graham Sutherland

Production date
1950
Medium
colour lithograph
Size (h x w)
298 x 578 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Rex Nan Kivell, 1953
Accession no
1953/2/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Design of Arches
Design of Arches

Paul Nash

Production date
1926
Medium
wood engraving
Size (h x w)
135 x 114 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Rex Nan Kivell, 1953
Accession no
1953/2/252
View Artwork

Not on display

Ronco
Ronco

Ben Nicholson

Production date
1968
Medium
etching
Size (h x w)
254 x 267 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1971
Accession no
1971/6
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Not on display

Red and Black Linear
Red and Black Linear

Terry Frost

Production date
1968
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
781 x 584 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Institute of Contemporary Prints, 1976
Accession no
1976/57/21
View Artwork

Not on display

Black on Mauve/Grey
Black on Mauve/Grey

Terry Frost

Production date
1968
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
1016 x 685 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Institute of Contemporary Prints, 1976
Accession no
1976/57/22
View Artwork

Not on display

Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice

Barbara Hepworth

Production date
1971
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
305 x 254 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Institute of Contemporary Prints, 1976
Accession no
1976/57/26
View Artwork

Not on display

Seated Figures and Ideas for Sculpture
Seated Figures and Ideas for Sculpture

Henry Moore

Production date
1973
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
654 x 501 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Institute of Contemporary Prints, 1976
Accession no
1976/57/50
View Artwork

Not on display

Landscape with Megaliths
Landscape with Megaliths

Paul Nash

Production date
1937
Medium
colour lithograph
Size (h x w)
502 x 757 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mrs E Y Henderson, 1983
Accession no
1983/10
View Artwork

Not on display

Constellation wih blue and yellow
Constellation wih blue and yellow

Milan Mrkusich

Production date
1946
Medium
ink and gouache
Size (h x w)
309 x 245 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 1991
Accession no
1991/29/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Constellation with red
Constellation with red

Milan Mrkusich

Production date
1946
Medium
ink, gouache
Size (h x w)
309 x 245 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 1991
Accession no
1991/29/3
View Artwork

Not on display

Constellation with yellow
Constellation with yellow

Milan Mrkusich

Production date
1946
Medium
ink, gouache
Size (h x w)
309 x 245 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 1991
Accession no
1991/29/4
View Artwork

Not on display

Yellow with blue circle
Yellow with blue circle

Milan Mrkusich

Production date
1946-1953
Medium
gouache
Size (h x w)
332 x 514 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 1991
Accession no
1991/29/5
View Artwork

Not on display

Opposing forms
Opposing forms

Barbara Hepworth

Production date
1970
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
770 x 580 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1992
Accession no
1992/7/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Opposing Forms (December Forms)
Opposing Forms (December Forms)

Barbara Hepworth

Production date
1969
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
750 x 560 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1992
Accession no
1992/7/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Opposing forms
Opposing forms

Barbara Hepworth

Production date
1970
Medium
screenprint
Size (h x w)
580 x 775 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1992
Accession no
1992/7/3
View Artwork

Not on display

Abstract No. 2
Abstract No. 2

Paul Nash

Production date
1926
Medium
wood engraving
Size (h x w)
116 x 100 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1994
Accession no
1994/22
View Artwork

Not on display

Beyond the Eye 1
Beyond the Eye 1

Victor Pasmore

Production date
1995
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
755 x 840 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1998
Accession no
1998/7/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Beyond the Eye 2
Beyond the Eye 2

Victor Pasmore

Production date
1995
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
755 x 840 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1998
Accession no
1998/7/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Beyond the Eye 3
Beyond the Eye 3

Victor Pasmore

Production date
1995
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
755 x 840 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1998
Accession no
1998/7/3
View Artwork

Not on display

White Plane with Figure (The Force of History)
White Plane with Figure (The Force of History)

James Ross

Production date
1999
Medium
oil, pencil and glass on linen
Size (h x w)
650 x 602 x 50 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1999
Accession no
1999/28
View Artwork

Not on display

Untitled
Untitled

Don Peebles

Production date
1980
Medium
acrylic, charcoal
Size (h x w)
570 x 740 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1981
Accession no
1981/39
View Artwork

Not on display

Piha (night beach)
Piha (night beach)

Gretchen Albrecht

Production date
1999
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
615 x 805 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the artist, 2002
Accession no
2002/17/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Woman Seated on Fireside Stool
Woman Seated on Fireside Stool

Henry Moore

Production date
1973
Medium
lithograph
Size (h x w)
660 x 501 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Institute of Contemporary Prints, 1976
Accession no
1976/57/51