The Lightbox is delighted to announce that Sean Henry has gifted a painted bronze sculpture and colour drawing to the gallery collection. Following on from Henry’s 2017 exhibition at The Lightbox, the Woking born artist has generously donated his popular sculpture 'Sleeper’ (2013) and the drawing ‘Great Western Man’ (2012).
In ‘Sleeper’ a smartly dressed contemporary woman, carries a child-sized but otherwise adult soldier, dressed in military fatigues, barefoot and sleeping. His lack of boots and reduced scale make him seem vulnerable, and initially the sculpture recalls iconographic depictions of the Madonna and Child or the Pieta. However, on further scrutiny changes in scale and other details reveal an emotional disconnect between the two figures that is both thought provoking and ambiguous.
The drawing of ‘Great Western Man’ depicts an anonymous standing man wearing a long military style coat and cowboy hat. While immediately bringing ‘the West’ to mind, the drawing also refers to Great Western Studios in London, where Henry had a studio for 14 years. The work began life as a preliminary drawing for “The Wanderer” sculpture, recently seen outside Woking Station.
Director of The Lightbox Marilyn Scott said: “We are so delighted to have been entrusted with two of Sean Henry’s wonderful pieces. They will become a very valued part of our collection, and ‘Sleeper’ is one of my particular favourites!”
Sean Henry says he is "very happy that the two works will be joining The Lightbox’s growing collection of contemporary art. It’s great that a permanent connection will remain between the works in Woking town and those at the museum.”
This summer’s hugely successful exhibition at The Lightbox, Face to Face: The Figurative Sculpture of Sean Henry looked back over fifteen years of works by the artist, and brought record numbers of visitors to the town and the gallery. Henry skilfully uses changes in scale and material to imbue his figures with a powerful inner character and presence, and they proved to be popular talking points and photo subjects for their fellow Woking residents.
Since the exhibition ended five of Henry’s outdoor works, which were temporarily installed in the town centre, have now been purchased by Woking Borough Council and the property developers Moyallen, and will remain in Woking long term.
Three are already in place - ‘Seated Man’ (2011) on Platform 1 at Woking Station, ‘Woman (Being Looked at)’ (2006) at the entrance to the Peacocks Shopping Centre and ‘Standing Man’ (2008) near Jubilee Square – while the other two, The Wanderer (2012) and Catafalque (2003), will return to Woking in 2018 and 2020 respectively, once the new building works have been completed.
The donated pieces will be displayed at The Lightbox for visitors to enjoy from Tuesday 19th December 2017 onwards.
Image: Sleeper (2013) Bronze and paint © Sean Henry