"Even as The Children Act 1975 gave adopted children the right to their birth records upon maturity, the National Health Service was providing assisted conception services using anonymous donor sperm. Conceived in a South London NHS facility in 1975, artist Stuart Pearson Wright will never have access to his paternal heritage, a loss that has evolved from childhood confusion to the remorse of a father of two young children. Halfboy came about as a result of a chance encounter with a box of childhood photographs, a rare find as most such mementos were lost due to the peripatetic lifestyle imposed by familial circumstances in the 1980s. Reconstructed from photographs and personal memories, Stuart Pearson Wright has imbued the paintings that make up Halfboy with his portraitist’s eye for detail, bringing to life the minutiae of time and place. Humour and pathos jostle for attention in this autobiographical series, which will be supplemented by works made in the aftermath of a personal tragedy that unfolded upon his move to Suffolk".
The Loneliest Boy in the Whole Fucking World, 2017
Grant Wood - American Gothic, 1930
Whilst in Cambridge I visited Heong gallery where this really interesting and highly personal exhibition by BP Portrait Award winning Pearson Wright is currently showing. The show explores the artists' sense of identity given the circumstances of his conception and upbringing. The resultant paintings are biographical and very narrative, set within a definite time period, resembling the nostalgic illustrations from classic Ladybird books as much as 'fine' art. I can really see the Halfboy series being developed into a children's book and used to enlighten people about the emotional and psychological impacts of assisted conception. Pearson Wright handles paint beautifully. The effects of light and the sculptural folds of clothes are well rendered, and many of the figures appear to have that deathly, greyish, pallor of figures seen in Renaissance paintings which appear to be an influence. The Renaissance influence is also betrayed by the acute perspectives employed in the backgrounds and landscapes, which appear to be rather knowingly naive in contrast to the sophistically painted figures that inhabit them.
Another more concrete influence I detected was in Grant Wood's iconic painting American Gothic, (1930), with it's slightly caricatured figures, and its depiction of vernacular American architecture. All stylistic traits which can be seen in Pearson's work below, albeit steeped in sensibilities which are more typically English.
Halfboy and Halfsister, 2018
Halfboy and Halfbrother, 2018
Halfboy Vomiting in Debenhams, 2018
Halfboy and Mother, 2017
Kid with a Bleeding Brain, 2018
Kid with a Bleeding Brain (detail), 2018
Up the Downs: A Teenage Tragedy of Erotic Ineptitude, 2018
Nausea, (detail) 2017
Domestic Scene, 2003
Second Domestic Scene, 2004
Self-Portrait Brexiting, 2016
Martinmas Time, 2014
Half Boy I Stuart Pearson Wright
until 6th February 2019
The Heong Gallery