I finally got over to the Hepworth Wakefield to see The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories, an exhibition spanning forty years of Martin Parr’s photography. His early black and white series The Non-Conformists remains one of my favourites, a considered, sensitive and beautifully composed series that captures the essence of Yorkshire non conformist chapel folk.
I love forced Yorkshire rhubarb, a true culinary delicacy and unique to the “triangle” in which it is lovingly tended. Martin’s pictures were a revelation of the muck, candle-lit sheds and back-breaking work involved in its cultivation and should bring the wonders of our rhubarb to a wider audience as long as there is plenty left for home consumption.
I have always been in two minds over The Last Resort and seeing it large and close up has if anything tilted the balance against it for me. It is something more than the brash caught in the flash, up close and personal approach and super saturated colours that I don’t like about it.
On the other hand I loved the Cost of Living though recollections of living through Mrs Thatcher’s seemingly interminable reign made me shudder. The characters in this series border on cartoon caricatures of Tory society.
Autoportrait is a wonderful and charming wall showing Martin generally looking serious in studio portraits featuring weird and bizarre props.
The exhibition continues until June 12th and I consider well worth a visit, taking in the Barbara Hepworth sculptures too which I never tire of looking at. I also highly recommend the excellent cafe and bookshop and the architecture and setting of the gallery itself.