Coates & Scarry, London
Henry Hussey’s artistic practice is rooted in a deep personal enquiry. Working with a range of traditional and contemporary processes such as embroidery and digital printing, his textile-based art-works utilise materials as emotionally expressive tools. Combining found ecclesiastical and political textiles with hand-dyed fabrics, intricate bead-work and digitally printed photographs, Hussey’s artworks incorporate materials that are highly tactile and sumptuous. Lace, silk, damask, velvet, Swarovski crystals and faux pearls feature in his intensely worked surfaces. The historical connotations of the materials used are expanded by the artist’s use of vibrant colour and his distinctive graphic-style stitched outlines. The drama of the materials selected is emphasised by the way the artworks are hung like flags or tapestries directly on to the wall, often without glass. Hussey likes the fact that the artworks he produces could equally be at home in a museum or a protest march.
Hussey’s working methodology begins with an emotional moment he feels he must express. Working with actors and a ‘skeleton script’ he pre-prepares allows him to probe a particular idea more deeply. These live performance sessions allow Hussey to capture genuine responses to emotion through drawing, photography and audio recording, paying careful attention to the ways that the face and the body move in reaction to specific emotional intensities.
The time consuming and labour intensive processes that the artist uses mean that only the very strongest and most urgent of his ideas are made manifest. Hussey’s artworks are meticulously planned and distilled, though there is some room for more organic development within a piece as it evolves. The artist’s skilful layering and interweaving of text, image and material forms artworks that are deeply resonant, memorable and affecting.