Artist's first-ever Yorkshire exhibition at age of 86 starts at Harrogate gallery

A renowned sculptress and artist is to have her first-ever exhibition in Yorkshire at the age of 86 this weekend - and it will take place in Harrogate.

Friday, 4th September 2020, 3:32 pm
Updated Friday, 4th September 2020, 3:38 pm
Still working with intensity, Messums of Harrogate’s new exhibition entitled The Conference of the Birds presents Bridget McCrum’s most recent drawings alongside a collection of bronze and stone sculptures.
Still working with intensity, Messums of Harrogate’s new exhibition entitled The Conference of the Birds presents Bridget McCrum’s most recent drawings alongside a collection of bronze and stone sculptures.

The collection of sculpture and drawings is the work of Bridget McCrum, an artist born in Leeds but more famous, perhaps, outside her home town.

Still working with intensity, Messums of Harrogate’s new exhibition entitled The Conference of the Birds presents McCrum’s most recent drawings alongside a collection of bronze and stone sculptures.

Running from tomorrow. Saturday, September 5 to 24 October 24, the new exhibition isn't the first time Messums has supported this talented veteran artist.

Gallery owner Johnny Messum, who only recently opened his Harrogate space on James Street; his first in the north after building a reputation in the south, said: “We are delighted to be holding Bridget McCrum’s first Yorkshire exhibition in our new Harrogate gallery.

"We have shown Bridget’s works in our galleries in London and Wiltshire and it is very fitting that her sculpture and drawings should be introduced to art lovers in the county where she was born.”

Bridget McCrum (nee Bain) was shipped to the west country from a home in London to avoid the war.

It was there she found horses, landscape, art, and above all friendship with a young Elisabeth Frink.

This exhibition, which coincides with the display of Elisabeth Frink’s studio in the Messums Wiltshire barn gallery, brings together Bridget McCrum’s recent works with some of her earlier pieces.

It looks at how McCrum, like Frink, found ways to break free from the restraints of artistic precision through a fusion of the ancient and the modern.

Inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian artefacts she discovered during her youthful travels in the Middle East, and by the work of Brancusi, Hepworth, Moore and Frink, McCrum’s approach to sculpting is a reductive one, removing mass from a block of stone, using carving and sanding tools.

The basis of her work is a lyrical abstraction of living forms, a process after which only the primary elements of her animals and birds remain identifiable.

She arrives at stylised shapes that play with light and weightlessness, as with many of her birds which may be taking off, alighting or in flight.

In her charcoal drawings her favourite subject of birds suits her desire to depict speed and movement.

Her simplified forms capture the weightless of the birds’ bodies suspended in mid-air.

Bridget McCrum: The Conference of the Bird is open Thursdays to Saturdays 10am-5pm.

An illustrated exhibition catalogue with an essay by BBC arts editor Will Gompertz is available at www.messumswiltshire.com/private-bridget-mccrum/

To view Messum’s short documentary film portrait of the artist and her work - Finding the Essence - Bridget McCrum www.bridgetmccrum.com/press.

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