Henny Acloque's paintings draw on old masters such as Bosch, Bruegel, Durer and Ibbetsen.
Appropriating the work of dead artists, Acloque forensically unpicks and reassembles the layers of each image she works from. She speaks of her paintings being "evidence of evidence of evidence". Her paintings speak of infinity, inferring that both the landscape and our ideologies expand and contract outside of the image (and the edges of a canvas).
In her latest series of works, Acloque subtly prises open collections (and collectors) to reflect on how our changing world finds new meaning in their legacy and how changes in society, culture, and the economy have radically reshaped the meaning of objects and our relationships with them.
Her recent paintings and works on paper draw on her families collection of auction catalogues, artist’s postcards and a book of Victorian fairy paintings, which all feature historical landscape painting, enabling Acloque's investigation into our relationship to nature, the transfer of knowledge (public, private, between artists), and the consumption of art and objects.
Eliminating all figurative elements from the original source material, Acloque enforces her own codes and systems to re-introduce 'characters' to the frozen worlds she paints. This instils a familiar, timeless quality to the works. Utilising the colour of a cloth from a figure in the source image, Acloque injects abstract swoops, jacquard patterns and strokes that wittily challenge and disrupt these fantastical visions. Her ‘subjects’ are simultaneously revealed and masked, they operate like a virus in the context they find themselves, conspiratorially huddling and plotting to undermine someone, some place, something, whichever is never truly exposed to us.
This notion of 'owning' the painting is literally played out, with colours becoming fatter and more garish, suffocating and squeezing the image underneath.
A recent series of drawings ‘Island of Santana’ are inspired by a recent trip to Mexico, where the artist visited The Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Munecas). Sitting in the canals south of Mexico City the Island is the current home of hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls. Their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees, fences and nearly every available surface. The dolls appear menacing even in the bright light of midday, but in the dark they are particularly haunting.
Another series of mixed media drawings ‘Quimbaya’ are based on a friend’s collection of Colombian etchings which reveal a Tribe’s relationship to a gold mining landscape & culture. Florescent yellows and pink glitter figures are dominated by harlequin coloured patchwork skies.
In Acloque’s work the landscape provides a portal for transporting the protagonist and viewer to another time, another place, whilst also implicating an imminent change, reminding us that identity, subjectivity and our relationship to our environment are in constant flux.
Henny Acloque was born in 1979 and lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Life After Magic’, Ceri Hand Gallery, London; 'Justice', The China Shop, Oxford, 2012; 'Island of Santana', Chelsea Arts Club, London, 2012; 'Lugar de Culto', Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool, 2012, 'Circumstances', First Floor Projects, London, 2010 and 'A Dressing', Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool, 2009. Group exhibitions include 'Beautiful Things', The Next Door Project, Liverpool, UK, 2013; 'New British', Lloyds Club, London, UK, 'John Moores Painting Prize Exhibition', Walker Art Gallery, 2012; 'The Threadneedle Art Prize', Mall Galleries, London, 2011; 'THE FUTURE CAN WAIT presents: Polemically Small', Torrance Art Museum, LA, USA, 2011; 'Fade Away', Transition Gallery, London, 2010 and 'The Future Can Wait', The Truman Brewery, London, 2009. Henny won the Exeter Open, 2010 and was nominated for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, 2009.