Studies for a painting

An exhibition of Life-Drawings by Craig Wylie The Fairhurst Gallery

Exhibition dates: February 1 – 17, 2018 (Private view: Feb 1)

The Fairhurst Gallery is delighted to announce the first exhibition of life-drawings by the award-winning artist Craig Wylie. Theses intimate sketches offer a rare glimpse into the studio practice of this master painter and the process involved in developing initial sketches into his highly acclaimed oil paintings.

Born in Masvingo, Zimbabwe in 1973, Wylie studied Fine Art at Rhodes University in South Africa. He moved to London in 1998 and went on to gain great success and critical acclaim for his figurative work. Among such distinctions as winning the BP Portrait Award in 2008 and being commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint Dame Kelly Holmes for their permanent collection, Wylie has consistently pursued the human form as his subject.

In the past, Wylie has used photography as a starting point for his large-scale portraits, however, his recent work has seen a return to his passion for working from life. Particularly relevant with the Royal Academy’s current exhibition “From Life”, drawing from life models was long considered essential training for any aspiring artist. Wylie cites Renaissance painters such as Velazquez and Rogier van Der Weyden alongside such Modern masters as Giacommetti, Auerbach and Freud as motivators for his practice. The exhibition at the Fairhurst Gallery will take a contemporary look at the importance of life drawing as a preparatory pursuit.

Nina Fowler from the Fairhurst Gallery said: “The drawings not only have an extraordinary vulnerability to them in their emotional rawness, but we are honoured to get a view into the inner-workings behind Wylie’s practice.

“The fluidity of line and pureness of these sketches come from great experience and a masterly hand. We are thrilled to offer the viewer a privileged look into the workings behind his accomplished paintings.”

Craig Wylie said: “The constant examination in paint of the physically present human subject over a lengthy period of time seems to open up a temporally stretched zone for the viewer in the complete work.

“A zone where something of the ‘poignancy of fact’, to quote Francis Bacon, is allowed to coagulate and congeal into something more than the sum of its parts.”

The Fairhurst Gallery shop will be offering a unique opportunity to own a highly collectable print from Craig’s latest series of paintings from life, signed and numbered by the artist.

The gallery will also host an exclusive Life-Drawing Workshop in the gallery with Craig Wylie on Thursday, Feb 15th, 6-8pm. Booking is essential.

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About Craig Wylie

Zimbabwe-born, Craig studied Fine Art at Rhodes University in South Africa, graduating with Distinction. In 1998 he moved to London where his talent was soon recognized, winning the London Region Prize at the Hunting Prizes held at the RCA in 2001; the Royal Institute of Oil Painter’s Young Artist Award in 2002; and the BP Portrait Award in 2008. 2014 saw short-listings for both the Lynn Painter-Stainers and Threadneedle Prizes. In 2015 Craig’s ‘Self-portrait with plant’ was part of the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize. He is regularly featured in the annual exhibition of The Royal Society of Portrait painters at the Mall Galleries, London. Wylie’s work is represented in numerous private collections worldwide and is held publicly in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

About Fairhurst

Tucked away in the Norwich Lanes, once a 17th century skittle alley and formerly the Cat Trap jazz club, the Fairhurst is a unique gallery space, hosting regular exhibitions.

The Fairhurst Gallery champions contemporary fine art, bringing variety and brilliance to the city of Norwich. With a view to developing the careers of new professional artists and helping established practitioners reach new audiences, The Fairhurst repeatedly show inspirational work of the highest standards.

The Fairhurst Gallery also offers a traditional framing business as well as a bespoke restoration service, with clients including stately homes around the region, Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle and the Sainsbury Centre.