Environmental degradation is the key focus of Bushwick-based artist Jack Henry. His work, which incorporates objects he collects, includes weeds, cigarette packets, chains, sticks and coffee cups among other commonplace debris. “As we enter the Anthropocene, there is a growing belief that pristine nature no longer exists and true wilderness is just a figment of our imagination,” Henry says. “North Brooklyn is a perfect example of this. What little natural growth is present lies behind fenced-in empty lots or the cracks in sidewalks.”
The sculptures he makes, which have been exhibited at Wasserman Projects in Detroit and the MECA International Art Fair in San Juan, Puerto Rico, among many other venues, are tactile and voluminous: dense menageries that critique our treatment of the natural world.
Henry begins by making rubber molds of what he collects on the street before making replicas in resin. Then he assembles them, either as sculptures or within cement frames as a wall relief. “The forms aren’t planned beforehand,” he says. “I don’t make preliminary sketches, but conceptually I know what to expect — one piece leads to the next.”
[Photos by Jack Henry]
Editor’s note: A version of this story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Brownstoner magazine. It was completed before the pandemic.
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