Work in God Speed Speed Demon includes objects such as lightbulbs, flashlights, and stars set within grids, gradients, or monochromes. Henry explores forms that operate reciprocally as images and as symbols to understand how abstract thought—often scientific, cosmic, and spiritual in nature–is represented. He finds inspiration and unexpected correlations in the graphic language of scientific journals (on astrophysics, neuroscience, or the natural sciences); in religious icons of Italian Renaissance painting and Medieval manuscripts; in petroglyphs, and in science fiction.
Our desire to capture the immensity of universal concepts is ongoing, and consensus has evolved over millennia to designate visual forms for these concepts. The speed of light, the scale of the universe, the ecstatic revelations of spirituality, moral imperatives such as justice, freedom and equality: each of these pursuits continues to draw profound human inquiry. Henry’s painting practice addresses the resurgent interest in the cosmic and the universal–themes that speak to a complicated present moment. Whereas his early paintings explored optical experience, new works consider the subjectivity of perception in relationship to cognition and conditioning. Against the backdrop of “post-truth” politics and an increasingly digital experience of our world, notions of reality, scientific fact, and objective observation are more prescient than ever. For Henry, scientific and spiritual exchange shape a positive space for both artistic process and in lived experience.
The title of the show, God Speed Speed Demon, reads like concrete poetry–a practice that Henry returns to in the studio with frequency. Here, the title nods playfully to the speed of light, arduous pilgrimages, deities and demons, car racing, and pop cultural references from Henry’s youth, suggesting that any quest for the universal truth is inescapably entangled with contemporaneous life.