Review | Henry Hudson — nothing sticks to nothing at Hannah Barry Gallery

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nothing sticks to nothing, Installation view, 2019. Courtesy of Hannah Barry Gallery

The story being told is not one of words, but of a language that finds roots beyond symbols defined by mere convention. Memories that are both past and future, a now that has the present somehow out of reach – a limbo.

Henry Hudson is no stranger to the art world. He is known for his particular use of plasticine as favoured painterly medium, something he confesses to have happened out of accidental necessity. What started at a kids’ section due to the lack of funds for oil paint has grown into a signature technique the artist keeps experimenting with – the employment of wax, for instance, found to offer further elasticity and therefore a whole other level of eloquence.

nothing sticks to nothing, the artist’s newest collection, is being displayed at Hannah Barry Gallery in Peckham. Composed of four main large-scale paintings, the exhibition is complemented by a custom-fitted Scagliola floor also designed by Hudson.

There is an obvious shift in mood from his earlier work, softer edges when in comparison to the, at times almost obscene, realistic veins of his previous pieces. Instead of bombarding the audience with distinct detail, the installation seems to have them blend into it, with it. The atmosphere is one of mist, of ambiguity. There is a veil, a pink cloud that challenges the limits of perception. 

Untitled, 2019 © Henry Hudson, Courtesy of Hannah Barry Gallery

The extent of texture is wondrous; the different degrees of indentation suggesting the existence of an inner path, an idea that is perpetuated by the especially composed flooring. It creates a physicality that reaches for the viewer from within the canvas, giving them a universe to explore, a universe they become an integral part of.

A trip that seems at first a puzzle of recognisable and relatable elements, a journey through reiterated thoughts from beginnings yet to meet their end. Though the surface is far from being purely so, another dimension lies beyond it. The discovery of the curtain is exhilarating, but the fact that one cannot quite get a hold of it is disconcerting on such a palpable experience.

Sacrifice comes to mind; something needs to be lost for something else to be found. Will building up on your imagination be enough, or do you long for sensatory understanding? The question that follows is simple: how far are you willing to go?

A metaphor, the embodiment of a struggle to break through barriers without disintegrating in the process. The expectation of what awaits on the other side forges a state of uncertainty that is highly sobering, even if melancholic. Not quite here or there, take nothing for granted.

Amidst the landscape, there are three portraits of loss – they are your witnesses, and you theirs.

Untitled, 2019 © Henry Hudson, Courtesy of Hannah Barry Gallery

On its last week at Hannah Barry Gallery, Henry Hudson’s nothing sticks to nothing will open its doors and be stage to a series of performances, from the 8 – 16 March 2019. The complimentary programme, entitled nothing Sticks to Nothing LIVE!, features work by seven artists, including musician and songwriter William Rees, cellist and singer-songwriter, Lucinda Chua, and Gaunt – the musical pseudonym of interdisciplinary artist Jack Warne. All events are open to the public, require no pre-booking and are free of charge. First-come first-served entry. For more information, contact Hannah Barry gallery.

Words by Maria Mendes.

nothing sticks to nothing runs until March 16 at 
Hannah Barry gallery, 4 Holly Grove London SE15 4DF

www.hannahbarry.com
All events are open to the public, require no pre-booking and are free of charge.