Simon Hennessey


Simon Hennessey's paintings are perceived as a reflection of reality but in truth the artwork transcends into its own abstraction of reality. Through using the camera as a visual source for painting, he is able to create false illusions that are judged as our own reality.


"Hennessey’s striking paintings reproduce images of facial features in extreme close-up. In a way it is like those television programmes in which we see only the eyes or the lips of some informant, in order to obscure their identity. Except that Hennessey is not trying to obscure identity so much as to depersonalise the people in his pictures. He wants us somehow to assess their characteristics entirely from a few physical clues.


"One recent work is a diptych which poses the question ‘Angelina: Saint or Sinner?’ The question is not so direct as it sounds. The left half of the face is in colour, the right in black-and-white. Do we think colour is the Devil’s work, while black-and-white implies documentary purity? A lot of people see it that way. But is not black-and-white more artificial in our everyday experience than colour? And in any case, do not both of them partake here of that ‘false sense of reality, a photoreality’? Hennessey wants us to consider such questions, and leaves the answers up to us."


From “Exactitude: Hyperrealism Today”, by John Russell Taylor (Plus One Publishing)


For purchase enquiries and costs, or to arrange a viewing, please contact our team at or phone the gallery directly on 020 7730 7656.