A new display of works from the Pier Arts Centre Collection including recent additions.
The centrepiece of this new series of displays is the recently acquired Two Forms (Orkney), carved in slate by Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) in 1967. This significant acquisition to the permanent collection enables the Pier Arts Centre to highlight an important period in the development of Modern British art and to further unfold the story behind such a special collection finding its home in Orkney.
The founder of the Pier Arts Centre, Margaret Gardiner OBE (1904-2005), was a close personal friend and important patron of Barbara Hepworth. They met in Hampstead in the 1930s at a time when Hepworth’s abstract artistic vocabulary was emerging and the artist and writer remained friends until Hepworth’s death in 1975.
Margaret Gardiner undoubtedly created a vivid picture of the islands in the artist’s mind. The rich shared pre-history of Orkney and Cornwall’s landscape is reflected in the work and the friendship between these two remarkable women is clearly expressed in the title of Two Forms (Orkney).
It was Margaret Gardiner’s intention that the collection should grow and be shaped by future generations of Orcadians and since the founding of the gallery in 1979, the collection has increased in number to over 190 pieces from its original sixty-seven artworks.
Further new additions to the collection, including a film work by the late Scottish artist Katy Dove (1970-2015) and three early prints by poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006), demonstrate the Pier Arts Centre’s commitment to the development of the collection as well as highlighting the dialogue and influence between 20th and 21st century works within the collection.
The exhibition is completed by the display of several works on long-term loan to the gallery that provide additional context to the modernist thinking and aesthetic that lies at the heart of the Pier Arts Centre collection.
Two Forms (Orkney) was acquired with support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, the National Fund for Acquisitions and the Henry Moore Foundation. Further support from the Porthmeor Fund helped secure the work. The Centre’s own contribution, which enabled applications to the main supporters, was provided by the Friends of the Pier Arts Centre.