Henry Hudson pays homage to Hogarth at London's Trolley Gallery

By Culture24 Staff | 27 May 2009
a painting of a person wearing a hat

Courtesy Trolley Gallery. © Henry Hudson

Exhibition Preview - Henry Hudson, Knappin, at the Trolley Gallery, 73a Redchurch Street, London until July 25 2009.

The Trolley Gallery in London is currently home to a solo exhibition featuring the work of emerging artist Henry Hudson.

Taking his cue from the work of William Hogarth, Hudson has fashioned ten painted panels that weave in and out of Hogarth’s famous London narratives to create a rowdy tableaux that offers a commentary of the modern day capital.

Like Hogarth, Hudson is fascinated with the grime of London, both literal and metaphorical, and his paintings are rich with the real detritus of the city and the tarnished reverberations of modern-day society.

a painting of a person reading a magazine

Courtesy Trolley Gallery. © Henry Hudson

Each of the panels can however be directly attributed to either the ‘Rake’s’ or ‘Harlot’s Progress’, two series of prints by Hogarth from the 1730s. But rather than straight copies Hudson focuses on details - from individual characters to corners of rooms - each identifiable directly from the original plate.

The result is a subtly provocative and humorous series, uniquely produced in plasticine which has been melted and mixed by hand before applying with fingers or palette knives as a thick impasto on the board.

a painting of a woman wearing a large brimmed straw hat

Courtesy Trolley Gallery. © Henry Hudson

This often raw and craft-like process results in a notable surface texture that recalls the swirling energy of Van Gogh. In some areas the board is left bare to reveal pencil outlines and stains made by tea or red wine.

There are also nods to the modern day with the subtle replacement of motifs. An oily 18th century lamp is replaced with an eco-friendly lightbulb; a little spaniel plays on an upturned chair whilst his master pores over Readers’ Wives. And the parson, who has come from the funeral wake of Moll the harlot, looks dazed and confused at having landed in the 21st century with the swizzle stick falling out of his cocktail.

a painting of a dog standing on an upturned chair

Courtesy Trolley Gallery. © Henry Hudson

Curious to see how the man himself lived, Hudson visited Hogarth’s House in Chiswick and chose to delicately sketch - in white chalk on an antique blackboard - the downstairs loo. Moving to the exterior of the House, he encapsulated the country home of the great painter, engraver and satirist using an office whiteboard.

Accompanying these works is a series of small and delicate drawings of characters lifted from Country Life and British society pages, sketched and outlined in red and blue pencil on white paper.

a painting showing a cracked ceiling and top of a door

Courtesy Trolley Gallery. © Henry Hudson

Trolley Gallery began alongside Trolley Books in 2004, when they moved into the current space in Redchurch Street previously occupied by Stuart Shave’s Modern Art. Run separately but as part of Trolley’s broader philosophy, Trolley Gallery provides a platform to support and promote young and emerging artists. Visit them at 73a Redchurch Street, London. E2 7DJ

See www.trolleygallery.com for more information.

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