Babara Hepworth, Fugue
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
... AS SEEN BY RUTH E. SCOTT
It is the balance, strength and serenity of this sculpture that I find so appealing. The combination of weight and fragility – the solidity of wood and tension of strings – holds a controlled energy. Everything about Fugue is harmonious: the physical structure and its spaces and shadows.
Fugue consists of a fascinating array of shapes that overlap, intermingle and become a part of one another. The carved-out areas are as significant to the composition as its solid elements. The airy recesses within its structure create the shape without and vice versa. The strings subtly but powerfully tie the whole work together in a poised and elegant manner.
The exciting juxtaposition of wood and taut threads has musical overtones, as the title Fugue suggests; reminiscent of the strings on a musical instrument. Hepworth’s sculpture makes further reference to the musical title in its use of two materials, like two melodies; combining to create a harmonious composition.
Fugue is composed with powerful lines, from the curving and sensuously smooth edges and outlines of wood to the lines of string within. The strings of Fugue span the hollows in the wood, bridging the gaps as the lines connect one area to another. Hepworth has brilliantly crafted the lines of string into a pattern as graceful as a spider’s web.
Both as a viewer of art and within my own artwork I am fascinated by the use of lines, whether a line of thread, wire, pencil, etc. A line may connect but can also divide one area from another so that a solid area might become sliced into sections. I enjoy this ambiguity that lines possess. A heavy line can appear to incise its way through an object or hold a piece together; wrapping, binding, attaching or netting.
I find in the sculpture Fugue a sanctuary for my preoccupation with lines and have translated elements of Hepworth’s sculpture into my paintings. Entangled and Sculpted Parts use strong outlines that are incised into the paint, outlining and segmenting forms simultaneously. Since these works are two-dimensional some indication of inner and outer areas is required for which I have used colour. Shapes within shapes are thus revealed. It is left for the viewer to decide whether these are ‘hollows’ or ‘solid’ objects within the painting. The title Entangled suggests that the heavy outlines may also represent a material such as string, rope or thread. These deep pencil incisions tie the work together visually whilst also hinting at a possible narrative element.
The detail from Dawn of Creation shows one of many creatures that inhabit the painting as a whole. Once again I have drawn lines through the ‘object’, creating further interesting shapes within. Heavier lines slice into the paper through and around the creature. These grooves have filled with paint but remain evident; they run across the entire painting connecting the, otherwise isolated, shapes together into a ‘netted’ whole. From the detail of my painting Below the Surface thin delicate lines of pencil can be seen – used to attach the various forms which have been pressed-down into the paper. The title refers to both the physical depth reached by scratching into the paper as well as the narrative subject of the painting.
Ruth E. Scott (b. 1971)
Born in Ely in 1971, Ruth Scott was educated at Ely Sixth Form College and the University of North Wales, where she read Religious Studies. More recently, she has also completed an MA in Art Therapy at the University of Hertfordshire.
A painter since her childhood, Scott has exhibited since 1992, both in Britain and abroad, and her work can be found in private collections in France, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal and the USA. She has also worked in galleries, amongst which Primavera in Cambridge. Currently a gallery attendant at the Fitzwilliam Museum, she also works as an artist and art therapist.
Ruth Scott lives with her husband in Histon near Cambridge.
Anatomical book illustrations in collaboration with Peter D Scott for Peter T Harrison, The Human Nature of the Singing Voice: Exploring a Holistic Basis for Sound
Teaching and Learning, Dunedin Academic Press Ltd, 2006
1992 The Arch Gallery, Bangor, N. Wales, group exhibition
1996 Participation in Cambridge Open Studios
1997 Participation in Cambridge Open Studios
1999 The Old Fire Engine House Gallery, Ely, solo exhibition Newnham Psychotherapy Trust Charity Mixed Art Exhibition, Cambridge, group Exhibition
2000 De Grey Rooms, York, group exhibition, NSPCC Art Auction
2001 The Old Fire Engine House Gallery, Ely, solo exhibition Participation in Cambridge Open Studios
2003 The Old Fire Engine House Gallery, Ely, solo exhibition
2005 The Old Fire Engine House Gallery, Ely, solo exhibition The Guildhall, Cambridge, group exhibition
2007 The Old Fire Engine House Gallery, Ely, solo exhibition Galerie Melnikow, Heidelberg, group exhibition, Three Artists from Cambridge Participation in Cambridge Open Studios