After spending time in the Congolian forests, Hudson will dedicate his upcoming 2016 Sotheby's SI2 show in New York to jungle paintings also made of Plasticine.
Hudson grew up in Yorkshire and attended Ampleforth College. He graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2005 after taking a foundation degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design. His father is sculptor, Richard Hudson.
According to Nick Foulkes of Vanity Fair, Hudson’s “engagement with art began when, as a child of six, he say Henri Rousseau’s Surprised! at the National Gallery after which Hudson spent his youth constantly drawing and meeting other artists such a Lucian Freud at Green Street Club in Soho, London.
Hudson makes paintings, sculpture, etchings and performance based work. For the past seven years, his medium of choice has been Plasticine. In The Telegraph newspaper Hudson explains “I did performance as a student, but when I left I was broke and looking to make things I could sell. I’ve always loved the impasto painters: Leon Kossoff, Frank Auerbach, anyone a bit gloopy. So Plasticine felt like something I could run with.”
In the New York Times Hudson was quoted as saying that “there are certain things you can do with Plasticine that you can’t do with paint”, the writer Laura K. Jones has said that Hudson’s use of Plasticine creates paintings that look “more like oil paintings than oil paintings themselves” and the critic Richard Dormant has described Hudson as an “astonishing young painter”.
Hudson’s work is concerned with ideas of Britishness and contemporary culture. His most recent series, The Rise and Fall of Young Sen – The Contemporary Artist’s Progress, satirises social stereotypes and the vulgarity that can stem from wealth, frame and consumer culture. Dylan Jones wrote in GQ magazine: “the pictures are saturated with contemporary cultural references ‘satirising the absurdity of modern life, from political issues to social stereotypes and the contemporary art world’”. Hudson also often pays tribute other artists from history either through emulating their style or re-appropriating their compositions. Examples include Van Gogh, Hieronymus Bosch as well as William Hogarth.
Hudson’s series, A Rake Revisited, which was shown at the Sir John Soane's Museum in London 2011, also appropriated Hogarth’s A Rake's Progress but with Hudson himself characterised as the main character, Tom Rakewell. The director of the museum at the time, Tim Knox, explained to Cassone magazine “There is a pervasive sense of fear that is even more tangible in Hudson’s Plasticine clad canvases than in the original paintings. His work both subverts and celebrates Hogarth’s originals, adding his own story to a work which has become enmeshed in our culture, part of our national consciousness. He embellishes and exaggerates and makes these images from nearly three centuries ago alive for us again, inviting us to look just as acutely at the state of our nation today.”
The artist Marc Quinn has said, “Hudson aligns himself with an irreverent and eccentric British tradition in art that is really the saviour of it… it’s a lineage of non-conformity yet quintessentially Britishness that is unique… Hudson has reinvented this tradition in his visual, trembling, vibrating, sculpted paintings.”
The Director of Sotheby’s SI2 gallery Fru Tholstrup described Hudson to Wall Street International as “one of the most innovative young artists working today”. She went on to say that “through his painterly application of Plasticine, Hudson has developed a truly unique artistic language”. Damien Hirst has described Hudson as “F***ing mad”.
Notable collectors of Hudson’s work include Marc Quinn, Robert Hiscox, Jay Jopling, Mario Testino, Tim Jeffries, Tommy Hilfiger and Mark Hix. Hudson has also been photographed by photographers Gautier De Blonde for The Telegraph and David Bailey for GQ.
Hudson has had numerous solo and group shows in London, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, New York, Miami and Milan at venues including TJ Boulting (formerly Trolley Gallery), Sir John Soane's Museum, 20 Hoxton Square, F2 Gallery, Christie's, 33 Portland Place, Fine Art Society and as part of the Hiscox Collection.
In July 2013, Hudson survived a white water rafting accident in the Northwestern Congolian lowland forests not far from the forest-savanna mosaic. He was treated for dengue fever at a hospital in Brazzaville. Hudson then developed an obsession with this part of the jungle, as he trekked many miles to be rescued by Congolese army. He became fascinated by shamanism, particularly in Siberia, Mongolia and North America, and in 2014, he returned to crash site with a bag of ayahuasca, to be influenced fully by the surroundings. Later he painted it all at his studio in Roman Road, London.
Hudson’s upcoming exhibitions will be at Carl Kostyál Gallery, London and Sotheby’s SI2 gallery in New York. He was recently nominated from Pulse Miami Beach art prize for a series of Woodburytype prints.
In 2015 Thames & Hudson published an 8-page profile on Hudson in the publication, London Burning, where he paid tribute to the vices of Hogarth’s Tom Rakewell. The last photograph in the series depicted Hudson lying naked on William Hogarth’s grave in Chiswick, London.
In April 2015, Sotheby's published a feature on Henry Hudson in coordination with his show at Sotheby's S|2 Gallery titled, Henry Hudson: The Contemporary Artist's Progress - The Rise and Fall of Young Sen. In an essay about Hudson Nimrod Kamer described him as a 'champagne fascist'. In 2015 he was extensively interviewed by GQ Magazine, with Dylan Jones describing Hudson as an 'iconic' artist".
In March 2016 he was profiled by Flora Alexandra Ogilvy for The Gentleman's Journal magazine.
Hudson currently lives and works in London.