Miscellanalects is British painter Stuart Pearson Wright's first solo exhibition with the gallery. The BP Portrait Awardwinning artist is regarded as one of Britain's foremost figurative painters, known for his distinctively uncanny, theatrical portraits and narrative works of himself and others.
In this exhibition, Wright explores the concept of creative "loose ends", placing works across a range of media and subject matter in dialogue to generate potentially surprising dénouements. The title, a portmanteau of the words ‘miscellaneous’ and ‘analects’ (meaning ‘collections’, ‘crumbs’ or ‘compilation’) is expressive of the artist’s recent anthology of painting, printmaking, sculpture and performance. For Wright, the exhibition’s very heterogeneity is reflective of his own way of thinking, which he visualises as “Spiderman’s web emanating out of his hands." After thirty years painting almost exclusively, Wright has interwoven a multivalent routine throughout his practice of sewing, carving, and sculpting.
Wright's characteristically unsettling visual language playfully pervades in Miscellanalects, as he facilitates unexpected encounters between the work and the viewer. A painting of a man wielding a flyswatter, Dieyoulittlebastard (2023), is fixed with a motion sensor and sound, extending its subject matter beyond the picture plane into the gallery space. Bloke (2023), a three-quarters life-sized sculpture of a man smoking a cigarette is similarly activated by the approach of the viewer, again incorporating sound and plumes of vapour. As Wright reflects: “I love art that takes people by surprise.”
Wright moved from East London to castle ruins in rural Suffolk in 2014 and the area’s surrounding folklore and mythology have become a key motif in his recent work. The figure of a ghostly black dog said to roam the East Anglian coastline crops up repeatedly in the exhibition’s paintings, sculpture and performance.
The artist’s portraiture, for which he has received widespread critical acclaim, remains a central tenet of Miscellanalects, often with local Suffolk residents as their subjects. Also featured are the artist’s paintings of notable figures such as Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Caroline (2023) as well as more personal images including Self Portrait 2020 (2020) and Mermaid I Married (2020). Presented together in close arrangements, they reflect Wright’s lauded thirty-year exploration of the human condition.
Stuart Pearson Wright: Miscellanalects press release