Bridget McCrum ‘The Conference of the Birds’

The exhibition presented Leeds born artist Bridget McCrum’s most recent drawings The Conference of the Birds alongside a collection of bronze and stone sculptures. Still working with intensity, Bridget McCrum has made her career in England and this show is the 86 year old artist‘s first in Yorkshire.

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

McCrum’s work is 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.

Johnny Messum says “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

[ 1934
- Present ]
McCrum’s work is a potent fusion of the ancient with the modern. She works primarily in stone, from which some pieces are also cast in bronze. Initially influenced by archaeological finds and by the work of Brancusi, Hepworth and Moore, her sculpture also contains oblique references to the landscape and fauna around her homes in Devon and Gozo.

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