THE HUDSONS, Family Ties Curated by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst 31st January – 14th April 2024 Claridge’s ArtSpace Brook Street Mayfair London W1K 4HR
Claridge’s ArtSpace is proud to announce THE HUDSONS, Family Ties, a multidisciplinary, intergenerational exhibition of work by Richard, Richard WM and Henry Hudson. Curated by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, the exhibition brings together these three British artists – father and sons – to be shown together for the very first time.
In all their work, they are united in their deep understanding and fascination of nature and natural forms. Their artistic practices all began to evolve at a similar time, though in remarkably different directions, incorporating a variety of mediums and processes. Yet, crucially, all connect strongly with the intricate and complex materiality of their mediums, involving physical processes that work earthen materials with clay, plasticine, scagliola and wood.
From the elder Richard’s large-scale stainless-steel sculptures to Henry’s tactile mixed media works, and Richard WM’s distinctive pieces made from natural foraged materials, the works are studied, thoughtful reflections borne fundamentally from the artists’ formative time living on a farm. With the elder Richard a farmer prior to his shift into design and art, alongside more formal art education at school the boys would spend long periods of time with him, examining the intricacies of the nature by which they were constantly surrounded.
The arresting forms of the elder Richard’s sculptures are at once both abstract and strangely familiar, inspired by the micro and macro elements within nature and space. Drawing inspiration from sculptors such as Henry Moore, Jean Arp and Constantin Brancusi, his refined yet organic work explores the canon of Western sculpture and changing approaches to beauty. While he works in small scale in his studio, first sculpting maquettes in plaster and clay, his monumental works are also cast in bronze, sculpted in marble, or, as is most often, produced in monumental stainless steel. These polished, smooth and sensuous forms then sit back within the landscapes that inspired them, using their reflective surfaces to mirror the earth’s endless beauty.
Henry’s practice is renowned for his richly textured, fantastical jungle scenes, in which his ‘paintings’ are painstakingly sculpted with plasticine. For his newer works, however, presented in this exhibition, he employs a distinctive new process, using scagliola, a fine plaster and glue used predominantly in 17th Century Italy. Working upside down on glass, he eliminates the prospect of predefining the final result with his previous precision, leaving his subject matter alone to influence this in a game of chance, or serendipity. Inspired by the reflections on the River Thames seen during his Covid walks, and latterly other reflective landscapes, the works are quietly contemplative, becoming like silky abstractions which embody the spirit of the water they reflect.
Richard WM combines various media in his work, often incorporating clay with wood or stone. While more classically trained as a ceramicist, in recent years his work has become increasingly charged, touching upon poignant themes such as nature’s own destructive power and the emergence of new growth. Finding both inspiration and materials within nature, he often forages in the forest, finding pieces of wood which he burns to expose their core structures. The results are haunting, beautiful testimonies to the fragile beauty of our ecosystem.
Throughout the exhibition, the work of these three artists presents an ongoing, fluctuating meditation on nature – in all its forms, in both its strength and vulnerability, as well as our own relationship with it. Nature is painted as a physical space for solace and sanctuary but also as a mirror through which to consider the various perspectives of our ‘human’ fields – of not only art, but also anthropology, psychology and philosophy.
“It has been refreshing to work with this innovative space to show the works of three unique exceptional British artists – father and sons – together for the very first time, and in such an iconic location. While their practices differ materially, Richard, Henry and Richard (Hudson) are unified in exploring nature as both a physical and psychological space, resulting in works that are complex, thoughtful and inspiring.”– Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, Superblue CEO and Exhibition Curator
Coinciding with THE HUDSONS, Family Ties in Claridge’s ArtSpace will be an installation of works throughout the iconic Claridge’s hotel lobby from British contemporary sculptor Richard Hudson. These include a large-scale Tear work of polished mirrored steel weighing 240kg and measuring two metres in height. Visitors to the hotel will also see new editions alongside the lobby columns of Held and Twice.
THE HUDSONS, Family Ties Curated by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst opens on the 31st of January until the 14th of April 2024
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