Portrait of artist CJ Hendry State Library of Queensland Game Changers event

Epilogue by Artist Cj Hendry

Walk through the back streets of London’s East End and you will come across hidden church gems aplenty, with the ancient bells of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry ringing out from Hawksmoor’s Christ Church in Spitalfields to the great bell at Bow. There are the churches that are lesser known though; many are in disrepair, but there is one which – thankfully, due to a recent renovation – is enjoying a new lease of life this May as the setting for Epilogue, a solo exhibition and immersive experience by the New York-based, Brisbane-born artist Cj Hendry, sponsored in part by Caran D’Ache.

In the unique site of the New Testament Church of God, a dilapidated church in Mile End, from 12 to 22 May 2022 the public can visit Hendry’s poignant and reflective exhibition, introducing a new body of monochromatic work in the artist’s signature photorealistic style. Epilogue comprises 30 unique drawings depicting flora from around the world. The artist carefully arranges and photographs each specimen, and meticulously reproduces the images in Caran D’Ache Luminance pencils on cotton paper, through an intensely disciplined and time-consuming process – where a small-scale piece can take up to 80 hours. The new series of work draws on depictions of nature throughout art history, from 17th century Dutch Still Life paintings to the Pop Art of Andy Warhol and Marc Quinn. While the botanic motif has traditionally symbolised life and vitality, Hendry opts for a darker interpretation. But beneath the beauty and formality of her drawings, Hendry depicts flowers that without their source of nutrients are inevitably left to decay. The artist portrays them precisely at a moment when they about to dry and wither, capturing the final vestiges of their temporary existence.

This elegantly melancholic series mirrors a collective mood of reflection and re-evaluation, seeing Hendry work for the first time in a pared down palate of black and white. Questioning the ephemeral nature of beauty, time, and mortality all so prevalent today, Epilogue will also bring to life large scale immersive experiences – seeing 10 tonnes of recyclable confetti made up of millions of paper flower cut outs continuously fall from the ceiling of the cavernous hall across the duration of the 10-day period of the show. The confetti will be allowed to settle, gradually blanketing the floors over the course of the exhibition, underlining a greater sense of time, transcience and rebirth, forever altering the landscape of the exhibition.

“It’s natural at this time in the world that this series be concerned with the provocation of time, death and decay. We treasure flowers for their fleeting beauty. Countless artists have depicted flowers in full bloom, but few have portrayed them as they begin to wither and shed their petals. To me this is where the beauty lies, and Epilogue is a memorial to them and a reminder that nothing lasts forever.” Cj Hendry

For Hendry, the exhibition space and its associated concept are crucial to the narrative of her practice. Eschewing the pristine, white-wall gallery space, the artist frequently creates temporary large-scale installations. Taking place within a church, this interactive installation also touches on the religious notion of rebirth. The New Testament Church of God (former Holy Trinity) is constructed of London stock brick with stone dressings and was built between 1836 and 1839. Prior to Hendry coming across the space, the church had fallen into disuse and disrepair in the 1960s. To prepare for the exhibition, the studio has renovated the church and repaired its damaged ceiling. This regeneration process will breathe new life into the church and reinstate its role as a hub for local communal life. The end of Hendry’s Epilogue will thus mark the beginning of a new chapter in the church’s own story.


Epilogue by Cj Hendry runs 12 – 22 May 2022 at the New Testament Church of God, London E3 5AA. Open 10am – 6pm daily. Open to the public, no tickets required. For more information visit www.cjhendrystudio.com