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Henry Moore, Museum of Making

This was a small but very well-curated exhibition of Henry Moore’s drawings and early works at the Museum of Making in Derby which is a relatively new space that has undergone extensive renovation. Different styles of mark-making have always fascinated me as they show the raw essence of an artist’s style and it never ceases to amaze me how every artist seems to define their own distinct and often recognisable mark-making style. This shows the subtlety of the human spirit and reminds me that I need to press on with my own style which has come a long way since my early scribblings but needs ongoing refinement.

I enjoyed Moore’s mixed media drawings shown below, particularly the use of wax crayon and what appears to be watercolour on top to create a lovely distressed and mottled effect. I can see how this helped him visualise the bronze sculpture that many of these initial drawings would become. His figure drawing seems to smooth out the curves of the human form and again this would appear to inform his later sculptural work in how he is reducing the human form to those curves and masses that he wants to highlight at scale.

An extra exhibit was photographic work by Red Saunders and most impressive was a huge photographic recreation of the Derby Lockout in 1833, when workers were locked out of mills following the dismissal of a worker. This action indirectly led to the formation of the Labour party. The staging on this photograph clearly involved intricate planning as every character has an expression of intent and relevance to the struggle. Initially I thought it was very skilled PhotoShop work but no, it was a powerful contemporary representation of a historical event that the powerful leaders would prefer us to forget.

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