Monday, 1 July 2013


Acclaimed artist Clare Woods launches her new exhibition of works created especially for Harewood, on 6 July.  The exhibition which includes four large works, entitled ‘The Seven Eggs,’ explores the relationship between people and nature, drawing from the landscape surrounding Harewood, and the medieval church at Harewood with its alabaster tombs, as her inspiration.  The title comes from the local name for the 18th century folly set in the grounds at Harewood, now reclaimed by nature - a snapshot of nature repossessing human activity.  The location of Harewood as a choice for this unique exhibition reconfirms Woods’ affinity with Yorkshire; as the birthplace of two sculptors she particularly admires, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, and as a place that has an important and transformative effect on her work.

The works have been created on an industrial scale using the lithography print process, unable to find a printing press large enough Woods adapted her studio and used a road roller as a make shift press.  Although using the lithography process meant that only one print was made of each, making them unique one-off pieces.

At first glance these epic works seem to map the naturally formed landscape, but then the lines of once perfectly sculpted faces begin to emerge.  These magnificent alabaster effigies, which record some of the great figures to shape the medieval history of Harewood, are the focus for Woods’ works.  She captures an uneasy sense of a human presence through the carefully drawn lines and bold brushes of colour which are taken from the veining of the stone.  The process of joining the two lithographic plates interrupts the image, reminding us of the disturbing nature of these distorted faces.  These works advance the changes Woods made a couple of years ago and continue her recent enquiry into the wonder and horror of the human head.  This influence is combined with inspiration from the world class Harewood Collection, which includes finely carved sculpture and precious portrait miniatures. The end result is four stunning large scale works; Suzanne, Shirley, Sylvia and Sheila named after song titles by Leonard Cohen, Billy Bragg, Jarvis Cocker and The Smiths, which are displayed to full effect in the contemporary backdrop of the Terrace Gallery at Harewood.

One of the major players in the contemporary art world, Clare Woods’ work is unique.  This is the first time these works have been on display.  This exhibition follows major solo shows at The Hepworth Wakefield, Southampton City Art Gallery and Modern Art London with commissions including her large scale tiled walls for the Olympic Park.

Landscape and nature remain a constant theme at Harewood in 2013 with the major exhibition ‘In Cloud Country’ co-curated by Iwona Blazwick, Director of London’s Whitechapel Gallery and Diane Howse, Countess of Harewood, drawing to a close at the end of June.

‘The Seven Eggs’ is part of the ground-breaking contemporary art programme which showcases new works by some of the most exciting and challenging contemporary artists of our time. Harewood thrives on inspiring originality and celebrating the masters, showcasing works across all art forms, often in response to, or contrasted with Harewood’s historic collections.

Clare Woods is represented by Stuart Shave/Modern Art.

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