Of stone and wood: sculptor Barbara Hepworth steps out of Henry Moore’s shadow

A woman inspects two sculptures. The works are upright, elegantly curved, and a mottled green colour with large holes in them allowing the viewer to see the garden behind

Heide Museum of Modern Art’s garden is seen through the window behind Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Two Forms in Echelon (1961) as part of In Equilibrium, the first major exhibition of the British artist’s work in Australia. Photograph: Clytie Meredith

Almost half a century after her death, the prolific British artist, whose ‘holes’ in sculptures changed abstract art, has her first major exhibition in Australia

There’s a reverent kind of hush at Melbourne’s Heide Museum of Modern Art. Between the grey walls, Barbara Hepworth’s modernist sculptures are artfully arranged. Attenders wind their way through the maze, backdropped by black and white photographs of Hepworth at work. Occasionally, a comment will cut through the silence. Hepworth’s famous stringed sculptures, one woman observes to her friend, cast shadows on the walls, but in the shadows, only the “eye” is visible – the strings disappear. What is seen in the physical space, and what is seen as silhouette, are two separate forms.

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