Henry Hussey 'You Can't Outrun This'

Jun 5, 2017 3:36PM

New exhibition of textile works, monotypes and unique glass sculptures

“The only place you’ve got to go after St Ives is the ocean”

Henry Hussey has been creating deeply personal and emotionally raw  artworks for several years, mainly through the paradoxically labored  medium of textiles. Whether through a steadily growing vocabulary of  quasi-mythological symbols, or in embroidered lines of text extracted  from performative situations, he has sought to create expressions of  perceived truth in response to aggravating relationships and events from  his life.

The work has long framed these aggravating experiences dichotomously,  with clear lines drawn between an external antagonist and the artist  whose reactions they provoke. However, Hussey has recently begun to  acknowledge his own role in events, something to which he had previously  paid little attention.

The self is part of the problem but—as this exhibition’s title  suggests—it cannot be escaped. Whether because there is nowhere left to  run, or simply due to personal growth, sooner or later acknowledgement  must come. 'You Can’t Outrun This' is a showdown.

In preparation for new inquiries that will look outwards to broader  social and politics issues — as well as toward new materials and uses of  space — the exhibition will present a saturation point in the Hussey’s  ongoing self-confrontation. This standoff between the artist, himself,  and his internalized antagonists will comprise works created in 2015-16,  and will include an unprecedented number of pieces displaying his own  image — one last, long look in the mirror.

At the center of it all will be a triptych of works — 'Eclipse',  'Locking Horns' and 'Reformation' — exhibited together for the first  time. Each of these textile works has at its core an image of violence  and defiance — accompanied in the former two parts by visions of toxic  intimacy — where embroidered quotations and symbols with their roots in  diverse artistic traditions simultaneously provide both context and  shifting points of focus.

While pieces deal with purely personal themes, and are psychologically  suggestive in their treatment of the figures they portray, works also  incorporate a complex array of historical imagery, textual clippings,  stylized figures, and humorous personal history to create an image of  the past where the possibility of locating any fixed perspective is  suitably difficult.

There are, besides, a number of the artist’s recent, untitled glass  sculptures. Contorted busts in imperfect black glass, these forms are  the product of more violent and spontaneous processes than the Hussey’s  textile works, and allow a vision not just of his image, but also of his  action. Intended to stand away from the wall, they signify one of many  ways the young artist is bidding farewell to the tenets of his practice  thus far, and venturing into new, previously unexplored spaces.

Nick Carter Miles. 2017