Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition with British artist Holly Hendry.
Exploring the idiosyncrasies of the human body, Hendry’s sculptures and installations take formal inspiration from machinery and diagrammatic depictions of anatomy. Expanded casting methods are central to the artist’s process in which she uses an array of materials like steel, Jesmonite, silicone, ash, charcoal, lipstick, chewed gum, soap, foam, marble and grit. Her new work challenges our perception of the neat distinction between our physical bodies, emotions and mechanisation.
The exhibition sees Hendry draw upon the ethos of the Bauhaus school, where complex ideas are distilled to their intrinsic properties. The artist is particularly inspired by Oskar Schlemmer, whose dance and sculpture-costumes explore physical movement in relation to two-dimensional space and the notion of the human body as a mechanical object.
Involuntary processes such as yawning, sneezing, crying and ‘brain fog’ in Hendry’s work are rendered into simple, anthropomorphic forms. Transforming the gallery space into a larger-than-life production line, the artist shows feelings and thought processes being ‘manufactured’ and boxed up in an absurd attempt to rationalise the complexity of our bodies’ processes and outputs. This is demonstrated by the work ‘Overthinker’, 2021, which has tears dripping down one side in an expression of sadness, while the other side shows the inner workings of the emotion being generated by gears and cogs. The artist’s humorous approach is underlined by Hendry’s choice for a custard-yellow environment that draws upon sensory stimuli and the animated aesthetic of children’s television programmes from the 1990s.
Tongue-in-cheek and irrational, Hendry’s practice may at first glance present a reductive and ‘neatly packaged’ interpretation of how our body and mind work. However, the artist’s production line is not as efficient as it appears, with cutouts revealing the ‘gubbins’ and detritus that lurk behind her works’ seemingly perfect exteriors.
Hendry was born in 1990 in London, where she continues to live and work. A solo exhibition of new sculptures and a large-scale outdoor commission by the artist were unveiled at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea in May 2021. Her work was included in group shows at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield and Somerset House, London in 2021.
Hendry had a solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park titled ‘The Dump is Full of Images’ in 2019. Her installation ‘Deep Soil Thrombosis’ was included in the Biennale de Lyon 2019. The artist was chosen in 2018 by Helen Pheby, Head of Curatorial Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Selfridges, as the inaugural artist for the co-curated Art Block in Selfridges’ flagship store in London. Hendry created ‘Cenotaph’ for Liverpool Biennial in the same year. This monumental sculpture was included in the Biennial’s touring programme and shown at The Tetley, Leeds, in June 2019.
Hendry’s work can be found in the UK’s Arts Council Collection, Government Art Collection and British Council Collection.