The Muse Gallery
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
269 Portobello Road, W11 1LR
The Muse Gallery

Michael Henley – Descended
2 – 15 December 2021
Opening Night 2 December, 6-9pm


‘Descended’ is an exhibition of drawings and paintings presented in framed light boxes, as framed layered drawings and as a site specific installation. All of which draw from the natural world and our relationship to it. Through my research into the world around us (human and animal anatomy, plant form & decay) and our response to protecting it I’ve begun to consider the future of humankind and what might be left behind once we’re gone, specifically a visual record of this destructive pattern propagated from generation to generation. Through the process of creating these pieces this has been an ongoing idea and these works are a response to that.
Drawing from human and animal forms alongside visual cues from the Vanitas movement and classic Baroque Painting, I seek to communicate the transience of organic matter, animals and
bone in a state of constant metamorphosis, the heavily worked ink and graphite pieces are layered and coupled with a light source with the aim to create windows or portal-esc pieces that contain, as a whole and individually, a glimpse into the world around us. Perhaps not in this time frame but a far off future at the mercy of the many scenarios that could play out. The choice of a monochrome colour scheme helps to create a further feeling of seeing something not quite
accurate or accessible but upon further inspection the layers and details can been seen, revealing more information.
Overall, I hope these works invite the viewer to be curious and ponder the meaning of each piece, and the exhibition as a whole, as I may hint to my own but one of personal choice.
While the overall experience can be both one of uplifting positivity as well as negative foreboding this will need to be decided by each viewer along with there own relationship with the world around us, I offer a moment to consider with feet firmly planted where you will stand.