Duality is the state or quality of being two.
For the most part this has been both consciously and subconsciously an underlying theme throughout my artworks. My interests lie within incorporating multiple perspectives, feelings or contrasting elements that intersects our world, this dualism of imagery is then played out in paint over a singular picture plane so that it conflicts and distorts our own perceptions of reality, so that the familiar becomes less familiar.
My approach to realist painting is to be innovative and explore contrasting elements in an attempt to find a harmonious balance between realism and abstraction. I use paint in a constructive and deconstructive manner so that order and chaos or the structured and organic can sit together side by side.
On first view my paintings may be considered as a photographic representation of reality, but in truth my artwork transcends into its own abstraction of reality. I do not adhere to a true mimetic depiction of a photograph, I use the camera only as a source to assist me with gathering information which is then combined with my own artistic input and vision. My process consists of adding or removing detail, altering depth, adding textures, form and colour values and their relationship within the painting, this allows me to create an illusion that blurs the boundaries between what is real and what is made up and therefore presents the viewer with a simulation of reality.
"Hennessey's striking paintings reproduce images of facial features in extreme close up. In a way it is like those television programs in which we only see the eyes or the lips of the informant, in order to obscure their identity. Except that Hennessey is not trying to obscure identity so much as to depersonalise the people in his pictures, he wants us somehow to assess their characteristics entirely from a few physical clues.
One recent work is a diptych which poses the question saint or sinner? the question is not so direct as it sounds. The left half is colour, the right in black-and-white. Do we think the colour is the devils work, while black-and-white implies documentary purity? A lot of people see it that way. But is it not black-and-white more artificial in our everyday experience than colour? and in any case, do not both of them partake here of that 'false sense of reality, a photoreality'? Hennessey wants us to consider such questions, and leaves the answers up to us."
From "Exactitude :Hyper realist art today", by John Russell Taylor (plus one publishing)
Simon Hennessey takes an almost forensic approach to constructing his paintings. The key to his work I believe lies in the analysis of his reference material, which for the most part describes the human face. In a similar way to a macro lens, Hennessey manages to record and describe more information than the human eye. By enlarging photographic information on a monitor screen to the point where images begin to pixelate he will begin an editing process of what to clarify and what to remove. By slicing pixels and desaturating colour he begins to take ownership of the material, applying a series of creative decisions which ultimately change the nature of the image.
Hennessey is critically aware that only so much can be achieved on a computer screen which is when a stage of written notation takes over, helping him determine how he will translate the raw information of photography into a painted object.
Leaving technology behind allows him to consider practical methods of reconstructing an image. An open ended approach to the use of materials allows Hennessey to experiment freely with how to visualise his ideas. Hennessey manages to avoid a sterile approach to his subjects by employing highly inventive methods for their description. Using a heat cutter to make freely made cuts into acetate sheets, he makes masks to spray layers of paints and inks through. Building up layers of information in this way allows for a sympathetic portrayal of his subject, often not present in the original imagery.
His most recent paintings have centred on people wearing reflective sunglasses, opening up additional possibilities of spatial exploration. By combining the close up view of an eye and superimposing a reflected landscape suggests potential for ever more complex imagery.
from ' British Realism Now' catalogue, written by Nathan Walsh.
July 2019 - 20 años, en 20x20, MEAM, Barcelona, Spain.
May 2019 - 50 years of realism, Photorealism to virtual reality, Centro Cultural Banco de Brazil, Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
March 2019 - 20 años, en 20x20, Bantierra building, Zaragoza, Spain.
February 2019 - 50 years of realism, Photorealism to virtual reality, Centro Cultural Banco de Brazil, Brasilia, Brazil.
November 2018 - The art of collecting. Flint institute, Michigan, USA.
November 2018 - 50 years of realism, Photorealism to virtual reality, Centro Cultural Banco de Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
June 2018 - Museu del Tabac, Andorra, group show.
January 2018 - Winter show, Plus one gallery, London, UK.
October 2017 - Affordable art fair, Battersea, London, UK.
July 2017 - Figurative explorations, Tangent Contemporary, San Francisco, USA.
March 2017 - Open media, Royal Birmingham society of artists, UK.
February 2017 - Winter show, Plus one gallery, London, UK.
January 2017 - Attention to detail, Robert Lange studio, Charleston, USA.
Sept 2016 - Official opening - Plus one gallery, London, UK.
July 2016 - Summer show, Plus one gallery, London, UK.
September 2015 - Round the back a rackhams, group show, Birmingham, UK.
July 2015 - Summer show, Reubens Colley fine art, Birmingham, UK.
May 2015 - 20|21 international art fair, London, UK.
February 2014 - Winter show, Plus One gallery. UK.
November 2013 - Photorealism in the digital age, Louis K Meisel gallery, NYC.
September 2013 - LAPDA art & antiques fair, Berkley sq, London, UK.
June 2013 - Hyper realism today, Museu del tabac, Andorra.
February 2013 - Winter show, Plus One gallery, London, UK.
December 2012 - British Realism Now, Metro gallery, Melbourne, Australia.
September 2012 - Beyond realism, Gallerie de Bellefeuille, Montreal, Canada.
July 2012 - London Calling, Plus One gallery, London, UK.
February 2012 - Hyper realism now, Plus One gallery, London, UK.
February 2012 - Climate change, Metro gallery, Melbourne, Australia.
August 2012 - Scott Richards Contemporary art, San Francisco, USA
September 2011 - Celebrating 10 years of hyper realism today, Plus One gallery, London, UK.
March 2011- IN FOCUS, Simon Hennessey, Philip Harris & Andrew Tift, Plus one gallery, London, UK
Feb 2011 - Winter show, Plus one gallery, London, UK.
Feb 2010 - Winter show, Plus one gallery, London, UK.
April 2009 - Exactitude: hyper realist art today, Plus One Gallery, London, UK.
December 2008 - Christmas Show, Plus one gallery, London, UK.
October 2008 - ArtLondon 2008, Royal hospital Chelsea, London, UK.
June 2008 - The Summer Show: Plus one gallery, London, UK.
October 2007 - ArtLondon 2007: Royal hospital, Chelsea, London, UK.
June 2007 - Group Show: Plus one gallery, London,UK.
March 2007 - Affordable art fair 2007, Battersea park, London, UK.
March 2007 - FORM London, Art fair. Olympia, London.
February 2007 - Birmingham Open 07, Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum & art gallery Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, UK.
January 2007 - Group Show: Gallery Artists, Plus One Gallery, London, UK.
October 2006 - ArtLondon 2006: Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London, UK, Group show.
June 2006 - Exactitude III Plus one gallery London, UK, group show.
March 2006 - Affordable Art fair spring 2006, London, UK.
June 2005 - ArtLondon 2005, Chelsea, UK.
March 2006 - The Artlounge, Manchester, UK.
Nov-Dec 04 - R B S A open 04, Royal Birmingham society of artists, UK.
May 2004 - The Art house, Portsmouth, UK.
April 04 - The Art Lounge, The Mailbox Birmingham, UK.
February 2004 - Visual arts centre, St Johns church, Scunthorpe. UK.
November 2003 - R B S A open 03, Royal Birmingham society of artists, UK.
September 2003 - Eye candy: Surface gallery, Nottingham, UK.
December 2003 - Prelude: Solihull arts centre, Solihull, UK.
April 2008 - Simon Hennessey, Plus One gallery, London, UK.
September 2004 - Realism through a lens: Gallery Stratford, Stratford, UK.
March 2003 - R U 4 Real…? : Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham, UK.
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS & ONLINE ARTICLES
2019 (March) - 20 años, en 20x20, catalogue, Spain.
2019 (January) - 50 years of realism, photorealism to virtual reality, Book, Brazil.
2018 (November) - Art Libertad XIII, Book, Spain.
2018 (November) - Estado de Sao Paulo, review of 50 years of realism, Newspaper, Brazil.
2018 (November) - Poets & artists, Figurative realism, Magazine, USA.
2017 (November) - Art libre XI, book, Spain
2017 (May) - Poets and artists #85, magazine. USA.
2017 (May) - Jacksonsart prize, winner acrylic painting.
2015 (October) - ARTitude3, France.
2014 (Jan) - Liquitex interview-online.
2013 (November) - Photorealism in the digital age, USA.
2013 (September) - LAPADA art & antiques catalogue, UK.
2013 (September) - Eenadu magazine, India.
2013 (August) - Huffington Post. Article on recent reflection series, USA.
2013 (August) - 'Picture perfect' in News.com.au. Australia.
2013 (August) - Herald Sun newspaper, article on Simon's reflection paintings, Australia.
2013 (August) - Mirror newspaper, article on Simon's reflection paintings. UK.
2013 (August) - Daily mail newspaper, article on Simon's reflection paintings. UK.
2013 (June) - Bondia newspaper, Andorra, p14.
2013 (June) - El Periodic newspaper, Andorra. p10-11.
2013 (March) - 'Simon Hennessey' interview for Fatcap magazine, France.
2012 (December) - ‘Ruminations on representation’ by Jack Anders, p1.
2012 (December) - ‘British realism now’: catalogue, Australia.
2012 (June) - Chinese magazine interview in: ‘Modern Weekly’.
2012 (June) - ‘Get hyper real’ in: Belgravia residents journal, UK.
2012 (June) - ‘Real art’ in: Epicurean Life, UK.
2012 (June) - Interview in: Artists and poets magazine #35 p72-73, USA.
2012 (March) - Online article on hyper realist art in: ‘The Mirror’, UK.
2011 (January) -12 paintings of women, 12 studio visits, online newspaper feature in: ‘The Huffington Post’, USA.
2010 (June) - : “Paintings so real looking, you won’t believe they weren’t taken with a camera” in: The Independent newspaper, UK.
2010 (May) - Artists and poets online magazine, O&S, USA.
2009 (April) - ‘Exactitude- Hyperrealist Art Today’, by John Russell Taylor. Thames and Hudson, Plus One Publishing, UK.
2008 (April) - Feature and preview of Simon Hennessey & David Finnegan’s two person show in: ‘American Art Collector Magazine’, USA.
2006 (November) - ‘The London Connection’ in: ‘American Art Collector Magazine’, USA.
2006 (October) - ‘Art London’, catalogue, UK.
2006 (June) - ‘Exactitude III’, catalogue, UK.
2006 (June) - Article on Exactitude III Exhibition in: ‘The Birmingham Mail’, UK.
2006 (March) - Article on London’s affordable art fair, and artists to watch out for in: ‘The Times’, UK.
2004- Art review of ‘Realism through a Lens’ (Simon Hennessey & Paul Littlehales) in: ‘The Metro’, UK.
2003- Art feature in: ‘A & N magazine', UK.