There will be plasticine works, small details taken from his forthcoming 'Jungle series', which offer an abstract investigation into the artist's philosophy of transgression and transcendence; taking on the greater and awe-inspiring subject of botany in observing its constant battle for survival. Hudson has assembled imagined tropical environments from images sourced from the internet, photographs taken from visits to Kew Gardens and a variety of historical botanical books drawing similarities to the practice of Post-Impressionist Henri Rousseau. These new jungle studies have allowed the artist to explore further the medium of plasticine in creating very sculptural, psychedelic fantasy portraits, rich in detail, colour and texture.
There will also be a new departure for the artist - unique Woodburytype prints. The term Woodburytype refers to both a unique photo-mechanical process and the image produced by this technique. Pioneered in the late nineteenth century, it was the only commercially successful printing method for reproducing illustration material capable of replicating the subtleties and details of a photograph. Developed by Walter B. Woodbury (British, 1834–1885) in 1864, The Woodburytype print was first used in a publication in 1866 and widely used for fine book illustration from about 1870 to 1900. However, when attempts were made to adopt Woodburytype to rotary printing, the process could not compete with the quickly developing collotype and halftone photomechanical processes’ which almost completely replaced Woodburytype printing by the end of the nineteenth century.
For this body of work Henry Hudson re-visits this historical printing process and true to the artist’s practice, examines past traditions to give them contemporary meaning. Using scan data taken from the depth maps of his recent series The Rise and Fall of Young Sen, the process involves casting gelatine mixed with pigments into a relief mould created from a scan, allowing it to set and peeling the image away. Depth and tone correspond; the deeper the section of the relief, the deeper the gelatine and the darker the resultant tone. The print becomes a direct expression of the relief surface of Hudson’s painting. In experimenting with this redundant printing process and applying it to depth scans or ‘maps’ of his paintings, Hudson is celebrating British history and exploring for the first time in his career digital art, photography while simultaneously aliening it to painting and sculpture.