John Henry’s monumental-scale sculptures have appeared in city plazas and public spaces across the Unites States since he first began working at this scale in the 1960s. A forerunner of Chicago’s contemporary public art scene, John Henry’s work has been highly visible in public collections ever since. His return to working at the monumental scale in the 1990’s led to a strong interest in his work in the international arena.
The appeal of John’s work is not simple aesthetic. His massive sculptures confront the surroundings at a scale that completes with the man-made environment and nature’s wonders. One attraction of sculpture at the scale is the work’s ability to transcend environmental challenges and cultural barriers.
Reacting to forms within our personal landscape is a shared human experience. Whether John Henry’s work is installed within the ancient walls of the twelfth-century chapel in Italy or a metropolitan park in contemporary China, he design a perfectly adapted form that awaits the human encounter. He has managed to create sculptures that become virtual monuments in their respective settings, so much a part of the viewer’s everyday lives that the Works develop pinto meeting places, points of reference, and actual icons for the cities in which they reside. The sculpture becomes and integral part of the communities visual lexicon and if removed, as in the case of Jaguar in Vancouver, the city protests that essential part of the landscape is now absent.