Two exhibitions, one day.  A busy one!  Joan Miro with a major exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  I have to confess that Miro is not generally my cup of tea, but I took a weaving student to see it because I wanted him to get a taste of some British countryside (he was from Australia) and also because it was near to the second exhibition, that of a fellow MA student’s work at Barnsley.

Anyhow, back to the Miro for a moment.  Not only did we have gorgeous sunny and breezy weather, a rarity at the moment in England, but I had a profound moment!!  It was brought about by the ubiquitous ‘Do Not Touch’ signs everywhere around his sculptures.  Some of them are so tactile that they demanded to be touched!  Others had such contrast in surface quality between total shiny and smooth and rough and bumpy.  In my diary I wrote :

… I love the roughness and patination of his raw bronzes left unfinished – subject to change over time. The black finished bronzes have contrasts – smooth/polished and rough. My fingers were itching to touch, to feel the pitted surface, to confirm what my eyes see, to experience the visual. It was a physical feeling – more than an impulse – almost a compulsion – to have the haptic knowledge of the surface, the void of the channels, the edges of the channels. I felt deprived of something essential – like the loss of a limb. Strange – when I already knew what it would feel like….”

It was a feeling in my gut, rather than just a longing.  And so strong…

I can’t share any images because alongside the Do Not Touch signs were also No Photography, so I guess you’ll just have to go and look in a book or two, unless you happen to be in the vicinity of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park any time before the winter.

The other exhibition was Carol Harries-Wood’s There’s No Place Like Home exhibition.  It is on at the Barnsley Civic alongside an exhibition called In Situ by some well known UK ceramicists.

Carol has been focusing on memory evoked through the sense of smell using the familiar form of a domestic space – the home – to highlight domestic issues of home and homelessness and the everyday.  Her sculptures are made of many different media, including soaps, metal, jelly, bread, linen, stone, wood, straw.  Some are highly scented, such as coffee grounds, various types of soaps, honeycomb, and others incredibly tactile.  The main work is arranged at different levels which, if you stand back and you have a musical inclination, you can see is the first two lines of the song ‘There’s No Place Like Home’.  There is a separate section featuring houses made from elements important to Barnsley’s heritage, and another piece incorporating a new element of her work, her hands enveloping a house – are they cradling or strangling the house, cosetting or smothering???  Carol’s work comes from her heart and working alongside her at university, watching her instinctive creative process, is a privilege.

This is her first solo show, and there is a possibility that the exhibition might tour.  If it does, I shall let you know where it will be so you can go along and see for yourself!