I’ve never been much of a fan of Henry Moore, if I’m honest. I guess that for me, he fell into the "Damien Hurst" category of being somewhat obtuse and doing things for effect – for "shock value" only.
But on Friday, I had my view changed almost instantly – not by looking at his sculptures outdoors in Kew Gardens, (Where 30 or so of his major works or on display) but in the small indoor display of his sketchbook ideas and working drawings.
Alongside some of the small maquettes of his work were some of the natural items from which he took his inspiration – a box of small flints and a larger chunk, a couple of pieces of driftwood, tree roots, a ram's horn, a shell, sheep's tooth. Suddenly, the scales fell from my eyes and all became clear – he created his forms from the natural artefacts all around him. Especially connected for me were the female figures, which seem to metamorphose from and back to the flints – Earth Goddesses of the most literal kind, drawn from the earth and merging back into the landscape again.
I walked back out into the Gardens and suddenly, transformationally, I was looking with different eyes at the pieces which half an hour before had meant little to me. Not for the first time, the sketchbooks and the natural inspirations for works of art brought the works themselves to life. After absorbing their meaning, after following the pathway that the creator took himself, I was able to appreciate something of what the sculptures were all about and what he was trying to communicate with them.
Edit the above as pretentious rubbish if you like! But enjoy the sculptures themselves in the images here. I was able to gain more by being able to see them "in the round" and with the light changing on their surface as the day passed – and we will visit again, in the winter, to see how the changed landscape around changes our perception of the sculptures. But tell me what you gain from these photographs that I might have not seen – I am willing to go on even more of a journey through your own observations.
I see a seedpod here - what is it that you see?