Friday, May 3, 2013

Boy With …..’s Beard

Gavin Hurley
by Kathryn Tsui

Boy With .....'s Beard is a new series of portraits by Auckland artist, Gavin Hurley. The central subject of this series is a boy that wears an array of distinctive facial hair styles, from famous historic figures to well-known contemporary artists. The series is an insightful and imaginative pastiche of childhood and adulthood, past and present.

The central concept of Boy with …..’s Beard is character analysis. Hurley uses the same face of a boy in multiple guises, with the facial hair shapes of twenty one personalities, based on both historical and living figures.

Portraiture and collage has consistently been the subject and mode of working for the artist. Hurley says, “Collage with paper is my main medium, cut-outs are constructed and some are then developed into paintings. This is the way I have always worked, instead of drawing with ink or pencil I cut and paste.”

Previously the artist has portrayed sea captains, explorers, political figures, classroom students, artists, these characters of history are often sourced from old photographs and printed media.

It is the material attraction to old books and photographs as much as the contents and found pictures of these books. Hurley crafts timeworn paper stocks from such publications into his collages. At times adding to them embroidered beards and moustaches which have been stitched then groomed into place personally by the artist.

The smooth and perfect complexion of Hurley’s subjects have a mask-like quality signifying identity as something that is highly visual and can be stuck or put on. These 21 portraits also represent the unknown potential for young personalities to grow up into important figures in history and society.

Artist biography

Gavin Hurley is an Auckland based artist with an art practice founded in portraiture. Since graduating from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 1998 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts he has exhibited both nationally and internationally. His work has featured in curated exhibitions such as: About Face: Aspects of Portraiture (Papakura Art Gallery, Papakura, 2011), Pakeha Now (The Suter, Te Aratoi o Whatu, Nelson, 2007) and Mixed-Up Childhood (Auckland Art Gallery, 2005). Recent solo exhibitions include: memexograph Melanie Roger Gallery, (2013) Whatsisface Melanie Roger Gallery, (2011) and Baad/Good Grammar, Anna Bibby Gallery

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