Creative Process, Material Inscription and Dudley Shaw Ashton's Figures in a Landscape (1953)

Reynolds, L. 2020. Creative Process, Material Inscription and Dudley Shaw Ashton's Figures in a Landscape (1953). in: Jacobs, S., Cleppe, B. and Latsis, D. (ed.) Art in the Cinema: The Mid-Century Art Documentary London Bloomsbury Academic.

Chapter titleCreative Process, Material Inscription and Dudley Shaw Ashton's Figures in a Landscape (1953)
AuthorsReynolds, L.
EditorsJacobs, S., Cleppe, B. and Latsis, D.
Abstract

Dudley Shaw Ashton’s flamboyant 1953 portrait of the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, Figures in a Landscape, quite literally lifts Hepworth and her sculptures from the spaces of critical reception and creative process associated to the museum, gallery or studio, to audaciously place the artist and her work in the Cornish landscape amongst its beaches, megalithic standing stones and tin mines. This chapter explores how Shaw Ashton’s use of film technology to explore scale, distance and proximity between artist, sculpture and the contours of the landscape, proposed ways of depicting the artist and the creative process on film which were at odds with contemporary art documentaries of the immediate post war period. Reinforced further through the accompanying narration scripted by the archeologist Jacquetta Hawkes, Shaw Ashton seeks instead to inscribe Hepworth’s creative process within a pre-modern landscape and to present the artist and her sculptures as the embodiment of a materially located mythic and historic continuity. Made shortly after the 1951 Festival of Britain, and funded by the British Film Institute’s Experimental Film Fund, was Shaw Ashton’s disavowal of Hepworth’s modernist credentials reflective of a transitional and short lived moment in Britain’s post war culture? When an historical turn might be seen to presage new ways forward in cultural representation?

KeywordsBarbara Hepworth
Jacquetta Hawkes
Dudley Shaw Ashton
sculpture
Cornwall
landscape
modernism
Book titleArt in the Cinema: The Mid-Century Art Documentary
Year2020
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Publication dates
Published15 Oct 2020
Place of publicationLondon
ISBN9781788313674

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