BP Portrait Award Winner Stuart Pearson Wright unveils his intriguing new collection, which explores the use of the smile as an icon and signifier of a successful life, and how it is prominently used this way in advertising, culture and the mass media.
At the heart of this collection is Keira Knightly – who has previously collaborated with Pearson Wright in his 2010 short film “Maze” , which portrays two Elizabethan lovers , desperately searching for each other.
Role play has always been a recurring theme in Pearson Wright’s work, and his recent collection is no exception. Knightly is presented as sinisterly beautiful against a harrowing suburban background – opposing the “picture perfect” commercialised image that she is usually associated with.
To explore the deep meaning behind this work, you’d only need to look at the turbulent past of Pearson Wright, who was born in 1975 in Northampton, by artificial insemination, resulting in a lifelong identity void for the artist, which is used as a pivotal point to explore his own identity through art and confront his issues.
“Consequently never having known my father, I am fascinated by, and suspicious of, masculine role-models and archetypes as seen in film, art history and advertising.”
In the exhibition, Pearson Wright looks at the transformation of a subject both privately and publicly, and captures the conflict that is caused by advertising and the mass media, in what he describes as “the collective, hysterical conspiracy to appear happy, blights our visual world with endless images of overt disingenuousness”.
At first glance Pearson Wright’s work can seem bleak and sombre, but the contrast of frivolity and mundane melodrama are a recurring aspect in both his present and past work, which combine to create something that is intriguing, beautiful and dates to push the boundaries between high and low art.
You can see the London art exhibition of Stuart Pearson Wright’s work at the Riflemaker between Jan 9th 2012 and Feb 15th 2012. Further information is available at www.riflemaker.org.
words Jessica Evans