The Day Cary Came to Norwich – review

Nina Mae Fowler

March 2017

Taking residence at The Fairhurst Gallery in Norwich over the coming month is artist Nina Mae Fowler, who has bought with her an exquisite collection of portraits. Working in collaboration with the gallery, in memory of Mr. Cary Grant, Fowler and the team have given the prestigious white cube exhibition space an exclusive and glamorous touch.
Not dismissing Fowler’s interpretation of the darker side of fame, this exhibition powerfully highlights the impact of a changeable context coined with the assumed life of a ‘star’.
 
In an attempt to stress modern day obsessions with a seductively elegant way of life, one where fame, desire, and success come hand in hand, Nina Mae Fowler has reintroduced the drama of Cary Grant’s visit to Norwich, flaunting and exposing his many looks and angles in the public eye. This exhibition isn’t just aesthetically very pleasing, but informative, reflective, and experiential.
 
On entering the show, we find ourselves immersed in a 1930s monochrome cinema set; the interiors glistening, charming the eye, while the artwork takes the stage in an orderly, majestic fashion.
As I meander through the selected work, I am reminded of old family photo albums, films with subtitles, and a dreamy unobtainable lifestyle. Portraying time gone by, it is entertaining for the mind to envision these miniature Carys in situ.
 
On both sides of the draped red curtains and VIP rope barrier, Fowler presents multiple prominent faces known to the days of Art Deco, on our movie screens and on billboards.
 
Aside to the obvious trained and perfected illustrative technique Fowler demonstrates, we see an edition of ‘I Wake Up Screaming V’ showcasing the intricate sculptural side of her practice. At the same time as each portrait sharing a story, the gallery too have succeeded in composing and curating a visual narrative to be read in harmony with Fowler’s beautifully captured memoirs.
 
In addition, prints, postcards, and Fowler’s publication ‘Measuring Elvis’ are available amongst an abundance of artworks, so do be sure to take away your own edition of the golden age on your trip to The Fairhurst Gallery.


Kristy Campbell
BA (Hons). MA

Fine Art Project Research | Artist | Writer

07907 407 552

Written by jack