Sculptor born in Woking, Surrey. After a foundation course at Farnham School of Art & Design, 1982, he took a degree course in ceramics at Bristol Polytechnic, 1984–87. In 1990–91, he was Visiting Artist at the University of California. His earlier works were mostly in fired clay, but in 1994 he used bronze for the first time. In 1998, he won the Villiers David Prize, the first sculptor to do so. Henry has exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad. He had his first solo exhibition in 1988 at the Anatol Orient Gallery, Portobello Road. Major solo exhibitions include ‘Sean Henry Sculpture’, RBS, London, 2009, and Forum Gallery, New York, 2010; and ‘Conflux: a union of the sacred and the anonymous’, Salisbury Cathedral, 2011. His public sculptures include Walking Man, 1998, Holland Park; Man with Potential Selves, 2003, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne; the 13m-high Couple, 2007, the UK’s first permanent offshore sculpture, in Newbiggin Bay, Northumberland; Standing Man, 2010, Stockholm; Lying Man, 2011, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Michigan, USA; and four figures at various sites in his birthplace, Woking, 2018. In addition, Henry was commissioned to provide a nine-figure installation inside One Basinghall Avenue (Standard Chartered Bank HQ), City of London in 2008; further casts of one of these figures, Walking Woman, were subsequently sited in Oslo, Norway; Bad Homburg, Germany; and Colchester, Essex (this last being paired with Man with a Cup in 2017). In 2015, Henry was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to create a painted bronze portrait of Sir Tim Berners Lee (founder of the World Wide Web). Henry is a figurative sculptor whose works, despite their compelling presence, are not truly lifelike, being characteristically under- or over-life-size, the vigorous modelling of the surfaces and fluid application of paint clearly asserting their hand-crafted natures.
Bibliography: T. Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Kensington and Chelsea with Westminster South-West, Watford, 2023, pp. 181, 183; T. Flynn, Sean Henry, London, 2008; Sean Henry website.
Terry Cavanagh November 2022