Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Henry Hussey Reliquaries Exhibition

Henry Hussey: Betrayal
Henry Hussey: Solidarity

British textile artist Henry Hussey works with actress Maxine Peak to inspire Reliquaries 

Henry Hussey’s solo show Reliquaries opens at Gallery 8 in London on Monday 12 July 2016. 

Hussey’s work for Reliquaries is drawn from three key inspirations from the artist’s life. His relationship with his father, death and memory, and a growing political awareness. Within the overall works of Reliquaries, there are two other bodies of work, The Last Breath and Locking Horns.

Hussey describes the making of such artworks as cathartic in that they deal directly and honestly with the complexities of his familial relationships.  Hussey found out that his father had two families, neither of whom knew of each other, and the anger arising from this informed his work to date.  This inspired the body of work Locking Horns.
Henry Hussey: Expulsion

Now the artist has chosen to move on from the catalyst of this anger towards his father and the work in Reliquaries, also addresses the concept of memory and death, and the idea of a fractured, divided England.

Using actors to create live performances of the work Hussey envisions and feed his inspiration.  Most notably, the performances for The Last Breath were enacted by renowned actress Maxine Peake. The sessions with Peake allowed Hussey to capture genuine responses to emotion through drawing, photography and audio recording, paying careful attention to the responses of the face and body to specific emotional intensities. 

Hussey says of Peake “The pathos she can convey is incredible. Maxine not only embodies the spirit of the work, but working with her inspired me to develop new areas of work and inspiration. The growing political comment in some of the works arose directly from our partnership.”

Henry Hussey: Jerusalem

Death and memory play a large part in Hussey’s ‘Reliquaries’ series. Rooted in the artist’s personal history, the artworks explore the ways that memories of a person are fragmented and composite – pieces of a life that are assembled in hindsight. Materials are significant within everything Hussey makes but perhaps none more so than in ‘Reliquaries’, in their allusions to Victorian mourning clothing, jewellery and domestic interior preparation by way of respect and remembrance.

The series of work Locking Horns explores what Hussey describes as his anger toward his father. Using diary-like sections of stitched text that leave no room for misunderstanding in tandem with striking, sometimes quite violent images, pieces such as ‘Eclipse’ and ‘Betrayal’ are powerful and intimate slices of a relationship that speak of power, control and usurpation. 

Another series also titled ‘Reliquaries’, meanwhile, uncovers aspects of death and memory. Again rooted in the artist’s personal history, the artworks explore the ways that memories of a person are fragmented and composite – pieces of a life that are assembled in hindsight. 

Henry Hussey: The North

Working with a range of traditional and contemporary processes such as embroidery and digital printing, his textile-based artworks utilise these materials as emotionally expressive tools. Materials are significant within everything Hussey makes but perhaps none more so than in ‘Reliquaries’, in their allusions to Victorian mourning clothing, jewellery and domestic interior preparation by way of respect and remembrance.

Henry Hussey completed a BA (Hons) at Chelsea College of Art, 2011, followed by an MA in Textiles at the Royal College of Art, 2013. Hussey has exhibited in Hong Kong and nationally in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition, 2014, and the Royal Academy Summer Show, 2014. The artist is based in Surrey, UK. Henry Hussey is represented by Coates and Scarry, curators of internationally ground-breaking shows and exhibit at Art Context Miami and New York.


Reliquaries is presented by Coates and Scarry at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street St James, London, 12-30 July 2016.

Text supplied by Damson Communications

More of Henry's work can be found at his website: www.henryhussey.co.uk

Henry Hussey

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