Moore St. Electricity Substation - Original Architectural Perspectives
August 20th - September 19th 2015, Monday - Saturday 11.00am - 4.00pm
Our current show is a new series of prints featuring the Electricity Substation at Moore St., Sheffield. The works are based on the first architectural perspectives of the building, by Sheffield artist Kenneth Steel, drawn in about 1965. These original drawings are also in the show, and show a remarkable confidence in mark-making with heavy conté crayon, which exactly evokes the rough concrete of the building’s exterior. As artist’s impressions pre-construction, they show great sensitivity to the structure's eventual form and texture. The new screen prints have been derived from these drawings by the printmaking studio at APG.
The building is a well-known Sheffield landmark. Completed in 1968 to a design by the late Bryan Jefferson, a leading modernist architect and former president of the RIBA, it exemplifies the bold style that came to be known as Brutalism. Although still controversial it is increasingly admired and was Grade 2 listed in 2010.
Kenneth Steel (RBA, SGA 1906-1970) was a very talented Sheffield artist who after studying at Sheffield College of Art achieved a prolific output of artwork for the railways, including travel posters for LNER and BR; he was also much in demand by architects and engineering consultants for his architectural perspectives. This exhibition also features modern prints of some of his well-known travel posters and a small selection of other original drawings. Looking around the show on our opening last Thursday Malcolm Camp, who owns one of the 2 original perspective drawings, made the observation that Kenneth Steel is really a very under-rated Sheffield artist. His paintings for the travel posters have great fluidity and an assured evocation of place. His output was of its time, but serenely untouched by the major movements in the art world of the period. He seems to have produced work only on demand and the only surviving works are actually completed commissions. He left instructions for all his sketchbooks and unseen paintings to be destroyed after his death, which judging by the facility with he worked in various media - conté, pencil, watercolour and oils - was a great loss.
The show is open Monday -Saturday from 11.00 am - 4.00 pm until September 19th
The editions have been produced with the authorisation of the Hignett family of Tauranga, New Zealand, representing the artist’s estate.
We are grateful to Mr Edward Yardley, the author of a forthcoming biography of the artist Kenneth Steel, for assistance and information provided, as well as the loan of a number of pieces in the show.
Thanks also to Malcolm Camp, who also loaned a piece and first notified of the existence of this work.
Mr Tom Jones of Jefferson Sheard gave us valuable information about the architect and his work, and through him we met Mr Jefferson and had the opportunity to tell him about this project.