Ward explores the language of paint by investigating the threshold between abstraction and representation. A seed of inspiration will kick things off - a colour, a shape, a gesture, a memory - then the journey begins. He’ll often return to a work, painting over, adding, re-working. Over time expressive rhythms of colour and form emerge and repeat.

‘I want to make forms that feel familiar but are unnameable, forms that feel as though we might recognise them but are not “actual things”.’

Ward paints in two distinct sites, his Shed in Queens Road Peckham and his Studio in Woolwich and there is an ongoing dialogue between the way he works in these spaces. Lockdown precipitated a regular daily practice in the refuge of his Shed. This rigorous, regular practice continues to inform the larger canvases now produced in his studio - which offers the time and space to contemplate and build on the rapid and instinctive Shed Paintings.

He was shortlisted for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize in 2018, 2019 and 2022, and longlisted for the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2021. He is included in the inaugural “The Football Art Prize” in 2022. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions. The first substantial publication about his work, “Shed Paintings – Henry Ward”, was published in February 2021 by Hato Press and features 101 works on paper and a new essay by Ben Street. 

He is the Director for Freelands Foundation (www.freelandsfoundation.co.uk), and launched the Freelands Painting Prize in 2020. Previously he was Head of Education at Southbank Centre and worked in a variety of roles at Welling School, a Specialist Visual Arts College, where he led on the school’s specialism. In 2002 he established the alTURNERtive Prize, an annual award celebrating outstanding student practice. In 2011 he founded the biannual arts and education periodical, (www.wellingvisualarts.org). He is a visiting lecturer at UK art schools including Bath Spa University, University of Brighton, Manchester School of Art, Plymouth College of Art and Wolverhampton School of Art, and a mentor on the Turps Art School Correspondence and off-site courses.

He has written and lectured widely on the arts and education, with a particular focus on teaching as an artistic practice. He was an advisor for Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin from 2018-21 and curated a two day event, “Assembly”, investigating approaches to public engagement in 2018 and a follow up, “Assembly II” in 2021. He is a trustee of Bolton Contemporary and has been an advisor for Iniva and the Crafts Council.

In 2022 he is undertaking a residency at The Albers Foundation, Connecticut.

Training | Middlesex University, PhD, 2013; Goldsmiths College, PGCE Secondary (Art), 1999; Winchester School of Art, BA Hons (Fine Art), 1993; Central St Martin’s College of Art & Design, Foundation Diploma, 1990

Solo Exhibitions | “Baffle” Aleph Contemporary, London, 2021; “Abracadabra” AMP Gallery, London, 2018; “Henry Ward” Stark Gallery, London, 2004; “Henry Ward – Paintings and Drawings” North Bank Gallery, London, 1995.

Selected Group Exhibitions | “A Little Closer” Aleph Contemporary, London, 2023; “Shapeshifters” Irving Contemporary, Oxford, 2023; “Small is Beautiful XL” Flowers Gallery, London, 2022; “Swamp Legends” Terrace Gallery, London, 2022; “The Aesthetics of Enchantment in Abstract Art” Aleph Contemporary, London, 2022; Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, touring UK, 2022 – 2023; “on Surface – Perspectives on Painting” Messums London, 2022; Beep Painting Biannual 2022, Elysium Gallery, Swansea 2022; “A Generous Space 2” The New Art Gallery, Walsall 2022; “Works on Paper 4” Blue Shop Cottage, London 2022; “Roam” Rebecca Gilpin & Henry Ward, Fitzrovia Gallery, London 2022; “The Football Art Prize” Touchstones, Rochdale then touring 2022; “On Paper” The Paper Museum, Manchester, 2022; “In Awe of You” Liliya Gallery, London, 2022

Residencies | The Albers Foundation, Connecticut USA 2023; Wolverhampton Art School 2019

Collections | Soho House, London