In his latest body of work, Henson seeks to uncover inevitable traumas resulting from the deeply English trait of suppressing emotion. Almost Beautiful explores unknown narratives, solitude, badly buried trauma and the destruction of something beautiful.
Each piece depicts a painstakingly drawn, delicate image which is then defaced either with an explosive blot of ink or a line of cynical text. The Banquet for instance depicts a clearly wounded and scarred moonlit man, with his face obscured by an oozing mass of paint and ink.
As Henson describes it, “This collection represents hidden trauma and agony, but being created in pencil, they have a soft serenity about them, which seems to contradict that. The larger works have then been defaced with poured black and cream paint, as if the aforementioned trauma cannot help but ooze out, as it often does in life, displayed to the world as a dark void.”
The works obscured by text feature words and phrases again revealing the artist’s thoughts and inner turmoil. He adds: “The text works do a similar thing, but with their inherent negativity rather than a physical mess - almost feeling like you're gazing across at a beautiful scene but unable to fully see or appreciate it for your own thoughts.”
Henson talks openly about suffering from anxiety and his total unease with the spotlight and people watching him. This is also a feature of the art on display - with many of the subjects within his portraits almost straining to avoid eye contact with the viewer.
Widely known as a musician, Keaton is currently working on his fifth album and scoring a film for the BBC. He describes music as his day job, turning to his art to articulate the things he finds it hard to sing about.
Almost Beautiful runs from 19 February- 12 March 2016 at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, 42 New Compton Street, London, WC2H 8DA. www.lawrencealkingallery.com @lagalleryart