depicts anonymous figures, sometimes members of the public or actors, often portrayed in thoughtful and contemplative poses. Changes of scale disrupt our comprehension of the figures, and a completely realistic depiction is not a key interest. The proportions are never quite life like, but enlarged or reduced, creating a physical and psychological contrast in relation to the viewer.
Henry’s large-scale sculptures lend themselves to outside public spaces, in streets and squares, coastlines and countryside. Recent installations include Seated Figure, originally situated in the North York Moors National Park and now on view at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. In Woking, Surrey - Henry’s place of birth - a series of figures are located throughout the town, dispersed in amongst the streets, station and shopping centres. A further four sculptures are due to be added in 2021/2022, completing the town’s permanent collection.
Art historian Tom Flynn remarked on Henry’s sculptural process:
“Henry models his figures in clay before having them cast in bronze, after which he paints them. Despite their observable realism, when viewed up close the works reveal a looseness of finish in the modelling and painting which announces the figure’s hand-made origin.
He is not averse to leaving the incisions of a modelling blade unsmoothed or his fingermarks uncorrected. This leaves the surface pitted and swirling with incident. He wants you to see where he’s been and how he’s made it. The result is an exciting, rugged, visually eventful texture which contributes significantly to our appreciation of the finished object."
Sean Henry says: ‘What I’m trying to do with sculpture is defy time, to create something that endures in a way that we can’t and don’t.’
Henry graduated in ceramics from Bristol Polytechnic in 1987 and had his first exhibition in London in 1988 at the Anatol Orient Gallery. He was the first sculptor to win the Villiers David Prize in 1998 and has had more than 30 solo shows during his career. His work is regularly exhibited by galleries in London, New York, Stockholm, Bad Homburg, Mykonos and Brussels, and his sculptures can be found in public collections in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Germany, USA and elsewhere.
Henry is married with three children and lives and works near Winchester, Hampshire, England.