Claridge’s ArtSpace Presents THE HUDSONS, Family Ties 

Richard Hudson, Henry Hudson and Richard WM Hudson photographed by Shaun James Cox

Culturalee interviews Richard Hudson and his sons Henry Hudson and Richard WM Hudson about their inaugural exhibition.

Sculptor Richard Hudson and his sons Henry Hudson and Richard WM Hudson are keeping their artistic talents within the family with an exhibition at Claridge’s ArtSpace curated by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst. Culturalee caught up with the trio to get some insight into their first exhibition together, and the love of sculpture and nature that unites them creatively. 

The exhibition centres on the smooth, sensual sculptures of Richard Hudson, who draws on themes from art history, psychology, anthropology and philosophy to re-invent familiar sculptural tropes. His mirrored ‘Tear’ sculpture is installed in the lobby of the iconic Claridge’s Hotel, while other abstract works are shown alongside pieces by his sons in Claridge’s ArtSpace. Richard WM Hudson, the elder of the two sons, works in mixed media, combining ceramics, wood, stone and photography to examine the power of nature and the emergence of new growth. Henry Hudson has garnered a reputation for his plasticine-sculpted paintings – richly coloured, textured takes on dream-like worlds. The father and sons are united in their deep understanding and fascination of nature and natural forms. 

Image Credit: Installation view, Richard Hudson, Tear, Held and Twice in Claridge’s lobby. Photo credit Robert Glowacki.

Culturalee: Your exhibition at Claridge’s ArtSpace is the first time you have all exhibited together. Why do you think nobody came up with the idea for this exhibition before, and were there any father and son disagreements when you decided what to exhibit?

Richard Hudson: We had thought about it before, but it was only when we saw the premises proposed by Katy Wickremesinghe and Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst to curate that we decided to do it. There were no disagreements between us as we discuss our work constantly. We are equally critical and complementary at the same time, and it was a joy working together and will do in the future.

Henry Hudson: We always wanted to but it wasn’t until Katy suggested it. Luckily, we were all very close and have found our own voices and understand each other’s strengths, so it wasn’t an issue.

Image Credit: Henry Hudson, Plaster, pigment ,glue and beeswax on aluminium board, 157 x 220cm

Can you describe the creative process of working with curator Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, and how did you decide which sculptures would work well in the Claridge’s ArtSpace?

Richard WM Hudson: There was a process. We all provided works that were available as we had a very quick turnaround from concept to opening. Mollie was very quick at identifying a relationship between the works creating a cohesive story of father and his son’s relationship to natural forms. She was also very strong at controlling the three of us, listened to our thoughts but was firm with final decisions. Without her, chaos would have brought the show to a grinding halt. The balance you see in this show, how the works are placed & exhibited are all down to her expert eye and dedication for detail. 

Henry Hudson: Having Mollie was fantastic and made it allot easier on that front. I’m a great believer as one gets older one must let go and allow others to do their jobs. My solo responsibility is the work itself and the way it looks. The job of Molly was to make them all work together which she did a great job at doing.

Image credit: Installation view, THE HUDSONS, Family Ties, Claridge’s ArtSpace 2024. Photo credit Robert Glowacki

You all have very different styles, with Richard Hudson’s highly polished bronze and marble sculptures taking inspiration from Brancusi and Henry Moore, while Henry uses the 17th Century Italian technique of scagliola to create sculptural paintings, and Richard WM juxtaposes earthy ceramic vases with beautiful remnants of trees found in the forest whilst foraging.  Yet there is an interest in nature and organic forms running through your artistic practice that unites all three of you.  Do you ever consult each other for advice when you’re creating your sculpture, or take inspiration from the different techniques you use? 

Richard Hudson: Constantly. The studio can be a lonely path. We are the progeny of a family who have been farming for generations, nature and its organic forms are in our blood. My Mother who was unbelievably creative, instilled in me on our many walks, “Don’t just look at a hedge, look inside it, close up at the abundance created by wildlife, plant, animal, insect etc., the colour, the lines, the complexity never ceases. A minefield of inspiration.” On top of this having other artistic like minds in my sons to talk to, with constructive thoughts and ideas about my work is wonderful and triggers the imagination.  I believe it goes both ways.

Richard WM Hudson: Inspiration, not so much. I think it’s from living and growing up in the country. Our granny (dads mum) was the inspiration. A highly talented artist herself would draw our attention to the details in nature that one would miss if one were not showed. We do call upon each other when we get stuck, mostly technically, as we trust each other’s advice and judgment. 

Henry Hudson: Sometimes but more on practical issues. Having said that we all share everything we make at some point during its existence into the world and in my case, I definitely listen to the advice. My brother is older, and I have always looked to him for his eye on my work.

Image Credit: Richard WM Hudson, Untitled, Carbonized Pine Wood and Ceramic, Black clay, Approx. H 80 cm x W 110cm x D 36cm

Your father was a farmer before becoming a sculptor.  Did the formative years you spent on the farm and in nature provide inspiration for your later careers as sculptors?

Richard WM Hudson: I was very young when dad farmed. I think it’s more growing up in and around nature. Nature in a quiet setting, my hiding place, my escape. I attended boarding school surrounded by woods.  I was heavily bullied and homesick, I found myself in those woods making things by myself, as a distraction and comfort. 

Image credit: Installation view, Richard Hudson, Tear and Held, in Claridge’s lobby

Your polished mirrored steel sculpture ‘Tear’ is installed in the lobby of Claridge’s alongside sculptures ‘Held’ and ‘Twice’. Were these new commissions for Claridge’s and did you install ‘Tear’ to provoke an interaction with visitors to Claridge’s with their reflection in the mirrored steel? 

Richard Hudson: They were not commissioned by Claridge’s, but when I proposed the idea of putting these works there they loved the idea. The logistics of installing the Tear at three o’clock in the morning was interesting to say the least!!! 

The Polished Mirrored Steel always gets an interaction. I love the moment when the viewer first witnesses it. That split second is my exclusive moment with them before they travel with their own thoughts. But stopping them in there day, however brief, viewing their reflection, and the shape of the Tear, joy and sadness, I hope makes them contemplate the world we live in, for more peace and love.

THE HUDSONS, Family Ties is at Claridge’s ArtSpace until 14th April, 2024.

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