London artist Paul Wright is having his debut show this month, exploring the very best in nostalgic popular culture and paying tribute to much-loved English characters such as Peggy Mitchell, Captain Mainwaring and the Trotter family.
Entitled Carry On Del Boy, the exhibition at London’s Hart Club gallery, features more than 15 of his latest paintings, alongside a handmade rug and a selection of ceramics.
Wright experienced a traumatic brain injury in 2007, which left him with long-term disabilities affecting his short-term memory, movement and communication. Supported by brain injury charity Headway East London, Wright's passing interest in art was transformed last year when the charity’s studio, Submit to Love, introduced him to Artist-In-Residence (and namesake) Stephen Wright.
What followed was a collaborative partnership exploring colour, scale, character and pattern. The intuitive and playful approach marked the beginning of a fresh artistic direction and resulted in Wright creating a series of works inspired by his favourite programme Only Fools and Horses. His mischievous personality flows onto the page; introducing audiences to the rowdy mix of Londoners who have shaped his life and provided him with endless joy.
Stephen Wright says that Paul is "vulnerable, physically small, funny, humorous, naughty in a schoolboy sort of way. Working with him… was fascinating and educational. It has influenced both my own practice, as I thought it would, and has hopefully influenced Paul’s. From day one, he was willing to go on a journey."
The show not only marks the first time the artist’s work has been exhibited publicly but also sees the coming together of Submit to Love Studios with Hart Club, a champion for neurodiversity in the visual art world. The Lambeth gallery has a proven track record of positioning artists outside the mainstream alongside established contemporaries, and their inclusive aesthetic provided a perfect home for Paul’s bold, vibrant works.
Helen Ralli, the founder of Hart Club, adds: "It’s always a pleasure to visit Submit to Love Studios – the vibrancy of the work and the dedication of the artists and supporting staff Is inspiring. Watching the expansion of Paul as an artist as he works towards his first solo show and knowing that this joyful work will soon have a larger audience is incredibly exciting."
Carry On Del Boy by Paul Wright runs until 3 November.