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The concave front of 'Rock Face' serves to emphasise the striking conjunction of the two tones in the slab of Ancaster stone. The stratification is also visible in the holes carved through the block, which were Barbara Hepworth's characteristic way of enhancing the relationships between surfaces and forms. Both the choice of coloured material and the simple upright form were typical of her late works in which the monolith assumed ritual and spiritual significance. Although long committed to abstract form, she understood how it evoked analogues, noting: 'You can't make a sculpture without it being a thing - a creature, a figure, a fetish.'

August 2004