Category Archives: Stout, John

As I move forward to figure out what I would like to design now that I have learned all about Barbara Hepworth and brought metal mesh into to the picture I can’t help but think that I would love to make something that draws you in.  With the metal mesh in tension and other materail I would like to use lighting and percentage of transparency to encourage the eye to move in the direction your supposed to go.

As I was sketching and thinking the idea that jumped out at me the most was to make a entry sequence to some kind of out door public area.  I came up with this sketch:

I kept playing while brainstorming with different ways to use this hallway inorder to make you feel as if you need to move forward into the structure.  I see the materials being metal mesh on the left and polished wood slats on the right.

The next drawing I eventually came to was:

I wasnted to figure out what this kind of structure would look like in plan so I drew another sketch:

As I was draw the plan I realized that what I was trying do was make an entry sequence to an amphitheater cut out of a side of a hill.

As I kept drawing and trying to make structures grow together I went online for some influence and saw this sculpture:

called Torso Sculpture

This lead me to thinking that I can somehow shape the mesh to look more organic.   One of the ideas for the amphitheater looks like this.


Barbara Hepworth and Tension

Through all my research I was able to recognize three types of tension in Barbara’s work. I refer to them as: Physical Tension, Metaphorical Tension, and Drawn Tension

Physical Tension:


Orpheus is a known in Greek mythology as a great lyre (harp) player.  Orpheus’s wife died when she walked into a bed of snakes.  He went down to the underworld to beg Hades to give him his wife back.  He played so well for hades Hades heart was softened and he let him take his wife back.  But he would have to walk in front of her and not look back until both of them were on the surface.  As Orpheus reached the surface, forgetting that both he and his wife had to be on the surface before he looked back at her, looked back and she disappeared.   This piece uses physical tension to pull the different appendages inward.  This could represent Orpheus pulling his wife up to the surface or the Orpheus playing his lyre.

Winged Figure

The Winged Figure uses physical tension to pull two planes inward towards each other representing muscular wings engulfing a figure.

Metaphorical Tension:


I believe that this piece called Delphi is named so because of an Oracle called Pythia who received prophecies from Apollo in the ancient city of Delphi.  The string reradiating down from the top part of the sculpture represents Apollo’s prophecies coming down to Delphi.


You can see how Barbara uses the taught string to represent the strong force of the wave as it crashes down on itself. Barbara enjoyed sculpting like a wave because of the free form of the water.

Drawn Tension:


Pelagos is an ancient city in Greece.  I believe that this piece was called Pelagos because it is said that an ancient traveler named Pausanias found a hidden trail there that led close the Temple of Poseidon.  The wave like features in this peace have strings that could represent the tension as the wave starts to curl. Also as you move around the piece it’s shape changes encouraging you to move further around the piece drawing you in like an invisible tension.

Mother and Child

Using abstract art you can see how Barbara depicts a mother holding her child on her lap as she leans on her shoulder with her leg bent upward.  This piece uses absence of material to draw you in.  It has that same invisible tension that makes you feel as if you need to move around the piece.

As I was thinking about what I really wanted to research into I couldn’t help but gravitate to sculpture.  All my life I’ve been surrounded by art and painting because of my parents, but i never really looked into the sculpture.

I chose Barbara Hepworth as a foundation to look deeper into abstract art.  She is one of the first to really set herself apart form most other artist with her range of ability.   Her use of absence of form, creating holes in her pieces to form other aspects of the sculptures.  These, concave, and twisted forms create a visual difference as you move around the pieces completely changing the way you look at them and through them.