Kenny Hunter makes elegant sculptures in many materials including wood, plastic, iron and bronze. He remains fascinated by the processes involved in making sculpture in the studio and the power that they have to transform materials in order to express his complex and vivid ideas on historical time.
His central concern is with monumental sculpture and how it continues to evoke remembrance in a modern world. He sees history as a series of recurrent themes that each time come back slightly altered. For Hunter, the human condition is relatively stable and universal despite the belief systems that occur across eras and geography. His sculptures reflect this in their graphic character and unusual mix of very traditional and modern subject matter. His sculpture encapsulates moments in which human cultures, ancient and recent, clash together and become more strange and complicated the longer we consider them. Doubt, for Hunter, is a precondition for an open, tolerant and civilised society.
Through his commitment to sculpture in public space, Hunter has completed numerous art commissions, including iGoat (2010), a hand-sculpted goat standing atop packing cases in London’s Spitalfields. It is a symbol of non-conformity and a reference to the area’s rich social history. Through these works, he delights in bringing together both ‘what is now and what has always been’. He enjoys the sense of familiarity, change and reflection that public art demands when visitors return to his sculptures over many years.
Hunter’s sculptures often depict everyday contemporary objects – from televisions, drums, boxes and tins (invariably as plinths) to shelves, bookends, rucksacks and bin bags. Animals, whether mythic, farmed or domestic, regularly feature. The human figures spring from everyday life, such as adolescents or working people – as in Citizen Firefighter (2001), his monument for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue – yet are captured in traditional sculptural poses that seem from another era. They are made ironic through juxtaposition with their equally everyday accessories. Building on these large themes, his concerns for his GENERATION projects at Paxton House in Berwickshire and House for an Art Lover in Glasgow range across collective and family memory, nation building, the British Empire, Modernism and heritage.