HENRICUS VIII series & selections from four decades

Stephen Smalley
Anderson Gallery
March 14th. - April 25th., 2022
Stephen Smalley

Over a decade ago I began a series of small gouache / mixed media paintings which frequently depicted the Tudor monarch Henry VIII in improbable attire and places. Guided by the tradition of miniature painting, I completed a larger painting in 2018 which was inspired by the historic 1520 meeting between Henry VIII and the French ruler, Francis I. FANS OF THUNDER, a centerpiece work, visually narrates the flamboyant and ostentatious gathering of rival forces and features lavish festivities and athletic events, to include the fabled wrestling match between HENRY VIII and Francis I. As with my smaller paintings, I remain influenced by Indian and Persian miniature traditions, psalter paintings, Hans Holbein’s Henry VIII portraits and references to popular culture. Twenty past and recent paintings flank both FANS OF THUNDER and a large number of mixed media paintings on paper, each measuring 5 1/4” x 3 1/2”. Augmenting the Henry VIII portfolio are selections from the 1970s onward which feature themes such as baseball, beach cultures, rock & roll, the cinema, coastal Maine, as well as imagery from Ancient Rome & Greece. Themes of my boyhood, sentimentality and a sense of place emerge. This academic year marks my 48th year at Bridgewater and extended time spent in London, Oxford and elsewhere within the United Kingdom continues to nurture the series.