Way Out West

Stuart Pearson Wright Acts Up at the Riflemaker

For Stuart Pearson Wright’s latest show, I Remember You, the BP Portrait Award-winner evidently did not think marshaling the talents of one of the UK’s brightest young movie stars—Keira Knightley—for his short film Maze was quite enough. His exhibition at Riflemaker gallery in London sees the artist delving into character acting himself. Under the kitsch pseudonym of “Lonesome Stu & The Gearshifters,” he has recorded and produced his own album of country & western songs, Good Ol’ Country, on which he sings and plays the ukulele. The limited-edition vinyl, inspired by the romantic crooning and yodeling of American country legend Slim Whitman, is released on his own record label, Blue Whippet, the logo of which is a painting of the artist’s dog. It is a fitting counterpart to the visual art in the exhibition—painted self-portraits that depict the artist and his fiancée Polly Bowman in various cowboy-tinged guises, some superimposed on landscape paintings he discovered in a junk shop in Arizona. Pearson Wright attributes his particular interest in the “innate theatricality of inhabiting a gender or identity” to the circumstances of his birth: he was one of the first children of his generation to have been born via artificial insemination, and he never knew his biological father. “I seem to have managed to squeeze a lot of [my] ambitions into one show,” he says amusedly. I Remember You runs at Riflemaker, London, through June 26.

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