Galleries - July 2016

Here’s one of the nicest artistic stories of the year so far; the innovative and lively Cupola Contemporary Art in Sheffield, wanting to celebrate 25years trading on the Middlewood Road in the Hillsborough district and, at the same time, give something back to the community that had supported it over that time, decided to hold an arts festival. However, after several public community consultation meetings and events, it quickly became clear that the people of Hillsborough – both the residents and business community – wanted something altogether more ambitious to put the place back on the map. And, given the still powerful memories of the football stadium disaster there in 1989, ‘for all the right reasons’ too. From there the idea has just grown and grown, and with good support from the city council, Arts Council and many other such bodies public and private. Thus, on 9 and 10 July, Hillsborough Park becomes home to HillsFest , a two day arts and music festival, the whole venue being transformed by several very glamorous looking inflatable domes capable of holding 800 people standing, and with themed zones to include a creative showcase, makers’ activities, sound and movement, spoken word, film and taste. There’ll be loads of other fun and games, music and general jollity – what a gas, as they say, and all stemming from huge creative energy and good will with artists and everyone involved contributing time and energy. Artistic reputation, like any other, is always a matter of timing and the modernist sculptor Frank Dobson’s was, as it turned out, just a little awry. Born in 1886, just 12 years before Henry Moore, Dobson, along with Epstein and Gaudier-Brzeska, he was seen in the 1920s and 30s as among the most important figures in British avant-garde sculpture. However post-war, the rise and rise of the younger generation of Moore, Hepworth et al, made him into one of the strangely forgotten figures of British 20th century art, something that not even a major Arts Council show in 1966 was able to turn around. The next big show in 1994, ironically enough, at the Henry Moore Foundation itself, got the scholars interested but still not a wider public. Now the ever enterprising Goldmark Gallery is taking up the challenge, harnessing the scholarly reassessments that have been growing steadily in the interval with a major show of his sculptures and drawings. Their timing, as ever, seems immaculate and one senses that this time it may finally happen The work is just too good, its understandings of Cubist and Vorticist ideas, not to mention Gauguin and Cezanne’s paintings and drawings as applied to the human figure; they are acute and powerful and genuinely original too. I first encountered Ana Maria Pacheco’s extraordinary and monumental 2008 installation sculpture ‘Shadows of the Wanderer’ in 2010 in St John’s Church, Waterloo where, placed in the aisle of this busy working church on the edge of a roundabout of heaving traffic, it provoked the most profound sensations of terror and pity, its calm but scarifying evocation of a nameless human dread of exile and eviction like nothing else in contemporary British art. I was one of hundreds who, similarly moved, attended the talks and discussions that were organised around it – with the Brazilian-born artist at the event herself, and Neil MacGregor, then of the British Museum among the speakers. Its journey of public showings – organised by Susan Pratt of Pratt Contemporary then and since – started in Aldeburgh, followed by London Waterloo, Canterbury and Kiev – grander and grander venues, culminating in Norwich Cathedral last year and now, in July 2016, Chichester Cathedral . Far from being overwhelmed by R OUND-UP T ake to the hills 10 GALLERIES JULY 2016 Spirit moving Future perfect