Stuart Pearson Wright (b.1975)
Ben Whishaw is one of the most remarkable young actors working today, and has been described by many critics as one of the best actors of his generation...
Stuart Pearson Wright studied at the Slade School of Art, and is regarded as one of the most talented figurative painters of his generation. He came to prominence when his irreverent portrayal of the British art establishment: Gallus Gallus with Still Life and Presidents, featuring six former British Academy presidents and a dead chicken, won the 2001 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery. Subsequent commissions have included a portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh – the sitter’s immediate response being simply ‘gadzooks!’ – and of the author J.K. Rowling, now hanging in the National Portrait Gallery.
The present image derives from Wright’s major exhibition of drawings depicting actors, Most People are Other People, which was staged jointly by the National Portrait Gallery and the National Theatre. Grouping together both established and up-and-coming names, Wright presented an overview of British talent in both theatre and film. His bold but incisive drawing style: highly wrought, sometimes fluid and sometimes emphatic, creates an impression of palpable three-dimensionality rarely achieved in monochrome media.
Ben Whishaw is one of the most remarkable young actors working today, and has been described by many critics as one of the best actors of his generation. He drew public acclaim with his interpretation of the title role in Trevor Nunn’s Hamlet (2004). Charles Spencer wrote in the Daily Telegraph: `Whishaw...presents the most raw and vulnerable Hamlet I have ever seen.....This old, and perhaps over familiar, play suddenly seems wonderfully fresh, urgent and young again’.
Whishaw’s slender physique and strong colouring lends itself to characters demanding a degree of intensity. The role of the devious and seductive Grenouille, in the 2006 film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (an adaptation of Patrick Suskind’s novel), demonstrated how well Whishaw can carry the camera’s close scrutiny, and ignited significant demand for the actor. Thereafter, Whishaw has garnered leading roles in major films, including a reincarnation of Bob Dylan in the biopic I’m not There, John Keats in the film Bright Star about the poets final years, and has been cast as the iconic ‘Q’ in the two most recent James Bond films.