First and foremost, I am a colorist. As my work has progressed, it's gotten more minimal so then the distractions that are involved with gesture and drawing and mark-making are gradually eliminated to the point where the color becomes the thing and automatically concentrates the viewer’s attention
J.M Henry grinds raw pigments to explore new colors and combinations of paints that are uncommon and experimental. Preparing his own paint bodies, Henry achieves a purity that is difficult to replicate with commercially prepared paints. In his acrylic work he controls opacity through translucent layering revealing curious relationships among iridescent, metallic and/or interference elements which often visually mutate at different angles and distances. The nuances of his results frequently exceed the spectrum of what can be documented by digital cameras.
JLM: Comment on your practice
JMH: First and foremost, I am a colorist. As my work has progressed, it's gotten more minimal so then the distractions that are involved with gesture and drawing and mark- making are gradually eliminated to the point where the color becomes the thing and automatically concentrates the viewer’s attention. Layering is kind of the whole key to everything. When I worked in oils I was layering up and grinding the paint back with the standards materials using a more opaque base but with acrylics I found that I could layer stuff up with translucent bases. I don’t know exactly what it was going to happen but I have a fairly good idea and the surprises that come along in the process are sometimes the best things.
JLM: Can you elaborate on your transition from oils to acrylics?
JMH; When I first switched over to acrylics, I noticed right away that they were a little short on pigment relative to oil paints, they were not as pigment loaded. So I started supplementing the pigments with powdered pigment in the same hue and family of hues at first. It didn't take me long to realize that the pigments that I bought, the raw pigments in powdered form, we're better than the pigments that they had in the commercially prepared paint. I started then moving away from tube paints to paint bodies with which I could control everything
JLM: Discuss the painting Waves Over Shadows
JMH: That painting is a re-work from work on paper that I had around for probably eight years that I hadn't finished. It is an oil painting so, instead of mixing fluorescent red pigments with an acrylic body, I used an oil based extender to create that color laid down over top of a bright yellow background that has kind of an unusual quality to it which cant be really photographed.
JLM: Can you comment on your painting Sunshine Dream seems to especially change at different angles and view distances.?
JMH: That work is similar to a work at the last show, which despite our best efforts, my photographer and I could only get it to look like basically a neutral kind of shimmery gray square but it had a lot of different colors in it with when you walked around it. So it makes it difficult too to show them in a photograph.
Liminal Manifestation runs through May 9 at the Linda Matney Fine Art Gallery. Walk-in hours are Thursday -Saturday 11am-5pm or call (757) 675-6627 for an appointment
Additional Works by J.M. Henry are available at the gallery and on Artsy