Modern sculpture seems mysterious to many people. Frequently abstract or distorted in form, and complicated rather than illuminated by critical jargon, it seems difficult and inaccessible. Yet everywhere we go, sculpture is: invading our space, demanding to have attention paid. That is what makes it so challenging, and potentially so rewarding.
Initially controversial, the names of the sculptors involved have tended to become more accessible than what they made. Jacob Epstein and Henri Gaudier- Brzeska; Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore; Michael Ayrton, Anthony Gormley, Elisabeth Frink and Eduardo Paolozzi – their work stands at the heart of our time, and yet still, too often, people looking at individual pieces are intimidated where they should be enthralled.
The viewing of sculpture is an exploration, an adventure, something to be enjoyed. This lecture sets out to prove that, where sculpture is concerned, we can all be explorers.
After taking her first degree at Bristol University in English and Drama, Justine Hopkins turned to Art History, studying for an MA at the Courtauld Institute specialising in European Art of the Romantic period. She then spent a year in Belize and the British Museum drawing Ancient Mayan pottery, before returning to the academic world to gain a PhD from Birkbeck College, London for her researches into the interactions of Science, Religion and Landscape Painting from the French Revolution to the Origin of Species. Since then she has worked as a freelance lecturer in Art History for Bristol, London, Oxford and Cambridge Universities; the Tate, National and National Portrait Galleries; the Victoria and Albert Museum; Sotheby’s, Christies’ and assorted independent institutions. Her biography of the c20th sculptor and painter, Michael Ayrton, was published in 1994; she has also contributed articles to a wide variety of periodicals and dictionaries, most recently the New Dictionary of National Biography and the Oxford Dictionary of Western Art. She lives in Bristol, in a house built in 1637 with timbers from ships that sailed against the Armada which she shares with a teacher, a photographer and a black cat called Martha. She divides her time between writing and lecturing, and makes lamp worked glass beads for relaxation