The Fairhurst Gallery is proud to host the first solo exhibition in Norfolk by one of Britain’s most celebrated portraitists. (Elvis x 20) + (Tom x 1) will showcase the astonishingly detailed work of artist Stuart Pearson Wright, featuring 20 drawings of Elvis tribute acts from across the country and one portrait of a Tom Jones tribute act.
Artist Stuart Pearson Wright studied at the Slade School of Fine Art before going on to win the BP Portrait Award in 2000 aged 25. His subjects have included the author JK Rowling, the Duke of Edinburgh and actors John Hurt, Keira Knightly, Daniel Radcliffe and Sir Michael Gambon. Stuart has drawn inspiration for the exhibition from an eager interest in the idea of people taking on different characters in their lives. In 2006 he exhibited a body of work detailing the portraits of more than 30 actors including Alan Rickman, Ben Wishaw, Keeley Hawkes and Sir Ian McKellen.
“For many years I’ve been interested in the idea of people who become someone else and are, in a sense, a character when you meet them. I did an exhibition of portraits of actors particularly because I was interested in the process of people transforming from one identity to another and the moment at which a person’s own identity dissolves and they become the character they are playing. I’m intrigued by that strange middle ground between the two identities. On a very obvious level an Elvis tribute act is a person pretending to be someone else and pretending to be another person. There’s this one specific identity that’s shared by a vast number of people, all of whom become that one person and that’s a very specific situation. I think what particularly interests me about it is the sense there’s almost a democracy – this process where almost anyone can become Elvis. We have people of very broad ethnic differences, even gender differences, we have people from all walks of life, ages, people of all shapes, sizes, colours – all becoming the same person. So it’s a wonderful, democratic process for me, I enjoy that idea.”
Stuart has spent the past year travelling across the country drawing a diverse selection of Elvis’s including an Indian man, a woman and a young disabled man in a wheelchair.
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