Discover Paddington

Art @ Paddington Central | Sean Henry

14.11.2016
Two Figures (Meeting Place) 2003

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Sean Henry, Two Figures (Meeting Place) 2003, Collection British Land at Paddington Central, Image courtesy the artist | Photograph c. David Barret
 

Located adjacent to the canal side at Paddington Central, Sean Henry's sculpture Two Figures (Meeting Place) was commissioned for that very space in 2003. Familiar with the Westway, and the well-used pedestrian routes due to the nearby location of his then studio, Henry sited the works to provide a link between Little Venice and Paddington Station. Our art curator Rosie Glenn, spoke with him about this work on campus and also about his upcoming London solo exhibition -

RG

It's great to see your works at Paddington Central, what inspired you to create them in this location?

SH

My first piece of permanent exterior sculpture Walking Man was sited in Holland Park in 1998 and the three figure work called Man with Potential Self was located in Newcastle just a year or two later. Following these pieces, I decided to create a work in which two figures could stand together as if about to meet whilst walking along a pathway. I chose the location near The Westway and hoped it would resonate with people’s day-to-day life in the then very new Paddington Central development.

RG

The figures look as if they are about to meet, is there a dialogue between them?

SH

Yes, there's a connection between the two and a sense of potential dialogue. You can see that they are about to meet - the standing figure is waiting, alert, while the walking figure remains locked in his own movement and train of thought, he's yet to look up and realise there's someone else there. As the viewer, if you stand at the center of the path, you also become a part of this scene.

RG

Are they based on people you know?

SH

No, I tend to work from photographs and while they are based on real people I don't include names in the titles; I want to encourage the viewer to spend more time looking at the works and to develop their own story around the figures. It's much more engaging and interesting for people, if everyone identifies with them in a different and private way. I was inspired by sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger’s Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner and also his Unknown Soldier monument, located just inside the station – both great works of sculpture.

RG

You've a solo exhibition of new work this month in London at Osborne Samuel Gallery, this includes some new sculptures and also some drawings, I wonder, who are your artistic heroes aside from Jagger?

SH

Inevitability Giacometti, I saw his exhibition last year at the National Portrait Gallery several times, and I'm impressed by the way he can portray the same person time and time again, seeing their faces and their bodies anew. I'm also interested by historic and Renaissance painted sculpture, something which grew from my residency period in Italy following receipt of the Villiers David Prize in 1998. The works in the show cover the period 2012 – 2016, and include a new group of monochromatic bronze works inspired by two distinct individuals. I’ve used the golden ratio to play with scale, and painted the gallery in a very dark plum colour, so it is quite a theatrical and dramatic environment.

Find out more –

Sean Henry's latest London solo exhibition Time Being takes place at Osborne Samuel Gallery from 3 to 26 November. Why not call in to the Gallery to see more works by the artist, find out more by visiting www.osbornesamuel.com or www.seanhenry.com. You can also hear the artist speaking about his work in this recently released video.

Born in the UK in 1965, Henry studied in Farnham and Bristol during the 1980s before undertaking a role as Visiting Artist at the University of California. Awarded the prestigious Villiers David Prize in 1998, Henry has presented solo exhibitions at Salisbury Cathedral and Glyndebourne Opera House. Forthcoming plans include a major project in North Yorkshire.

We'd love to hear more about your thoughts on our artwork around campus. Get in touch @PaddingtonCen. 

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Sean Henry, Two Figures (Meeting Place) 2003, Collection British Land at Paddington Central, Image courtesy the artist | Photograph c. David Barret