Seated Man 2011

Sean Henry

bronze – painted – corten steel

Sean Henry (1965) makes his sculptures in bronze or ceramics, painted with oil paint. They are real human figures or groups of people, who find themselves in everyday situations.

Henry has become adept at the manipulation of scale and almost always avoids life-size representation. He explores the possibilities of sculpture through various strategies: through the use of more than one figure, through the sparing use of contemporary iconography, and by a masterly ability to suggest psychological presence. His figurative sculptures are self-contained, often pensive and slightly melancholic, and always radiating self-control. This sense of orientation is central to Henry’s figures and creates their strong physical presence; a sense of being and staying. Henry’s figures go through an average of six processes before he can paint them.

I mold the figures in clay – hollow or on a steel fixture – and then have a silicone mold made, either from a piece of raw clay or from a fired ceramic work. Usually, it is a professional mold maker who does that. Then I bring the mold to a bronze foundry and make a wax copy of the original work there. This is largely done by the foundry. With this man, I have the memory of sculpting him before, which helps.” Sean Henry’s Seated Figure is a bronze statue of an unknown man sitting on a bench, looking imperturbably ahead into the distance.