On Monday evening (the day after International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8) members and friends of ADFAS attended the first lecture of the year, entitled the Tale of Two Barbaras.

The attendance rate at this talk was a fabulous start to the year.

Through the wonderful humour, passion and knowledge of lecturer Catherine Wallace, we heard the story of how these two pioneering female sculptors, with their vastly different styles, both became famous in their respective worlds of sculpture.

Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) was born in Yorkshire, UK and followed the modernist movement in British Art, representing Britain in the Venice Biennale in 1950.

Her avant-garde style of sculptures were constructed in many mediums – wood, stone, marble, metal and plaster – with beautiful timber sculptures often painted white in the centre cavities and highly polished on the outside.

Our lecturer detailed the work involved in supporting these massive exhibits with wooden and metal frameworks.

Barbara Tribe (1913-2000) was born in Edgecliff, Sydney and became a talented figurative sculptor.

She joined the Sydney Technical College at the young age of 15 and studied under English born sculptor, Raynor Hoff, her figure work at this time being heavily influenced by him.

After she received her diploma, she worked as Hoff’s assistant on the ANZAC Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park, a huge honour at such a young age.

She became a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Sculptors in 1953 having made many notable portrait busts of Australian Servicemen in London during the war.

One memorable sculpture was of Winston Churchill, which actually needed to be carved from memory because “…he was a bit grumpy the day she called in at Chequers!”!

The RAF pilots she met and subsequently sculpted, were later cast as magnificent bronze busts.

Both of these talented sculptors, Hepworth and Tribe, coincidently ended up settling down in later years in Cornwall, UK.

ADFAS committee secretary Kay Durham, has had a personal experience with this month’s topic, as she has twice visited the Kroller Muller Museum in the Netherlands, where the main art gallery building is surrounded by a huge sculpture garden which features a group of five sculptures by Barbara Hepworth.

It is situated in the most beautiful natural setting in the middle of the Hoge Veluwe National Park about 85 km south east of Amsterdam.

The art gallery concentrates largely on 20th Century art and has a huge collection of Van Gogh paintings.

Lecturer Catherine Wallace, herself from Cornwall in the UK, thoroughly enjoyed her stay in Narrabri, visiting the Sawn Rocks attraction which never fails to impress our overseas lecturers.

Catherine loved the homely experience of a farm-stay (green at last!) with Jenny and Ian ‘Bones’ Falkiner.

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