Spotlight

Spotlight Painter Lawrence Perry

Championed by artist and Bomb Factory Art Foundation founder Pallas Citroen
Visual Arts
The Wick - ‘Leda and the Swan’  2024 120 x 100 cm  Acrylic on canvas
Above  ‘Leda and the Swan’ 2024 120 x 100 cm Acrylic on canvas
ONES TO
WATCH
ONES TO
WATCH
The Wick - Lawrence Perry
Above  Lawrence Perry
Interview
Lawrence Perry
31 January 2024
Interview
Lawrence Perry
31 January 2024
Lawrence Perry paints uncanny scenes loaded with a psychological charge and heavy dose of wit. The Singapore-born, London-based artist draws from film, games and fashion to create scenes that feel familiar yet surreal, interacting with the emotional states of the figures that populate them. His arresting works have been featured in solo shows in London and Antwerp, even starring in Italian fashion designer Alessandro Michele’s A/W 2020 campaign, “Gucci, The Ritual.”

Perry’s champion for The Wick is Pallas Citroen, the managing director and founder of the Bomb Factory Art Foundation. She first spotted his paintings at his degree show at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2021 and was immediately struck by its authenticity at a time when so many artists were following trends. Citroen and her team offered him a studio space at the Bomb Factory in Covent Garden, where – despite battling with health conditions and recuperating from a series of operations – his practice thrived. Citroen would often visit him at the Bomb Factory and talk to him about his work and was “always impressed by his intelligence and broad range of knowledge,” as she puts it.

She adds: “At this time, he was embarking on a new series of paintings that were compelling and strange. He can be a highly technical painter and, when he started at the Bomb Factory, his studio was filled with very detailed and beautifully rendered paintings of domestic or ordinary things: a kitchenette, a thermostat heating dial, a close up of a snooker shot. The flatness and cartoon-like quality of these works reminded me of the painter Duggie Fields, who it turned out had been his mentor. But he moved on from this flatness to a more uncanny figurative style.” 

One of her favourite paintings – titled “Mimetic Desire” – from his new series is representative of this change. It shows two topless girls facing away from the viewer who seem to be trapped in a claustrophobic and brightly coloured, windowless room, recalling a game. There are impossible shadows and a painting on a wall that reads: “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Citroen explains: “His new paintings all have this strange quality. They are full of people who seem isolated and separate from each other and their surroundings. Lawrence has created a modern type of surrealism, one that is influenced by games, fashion, and cartoons, or perhaps life after the pandemic or his personal experiences of illness. I get a sense of fragility in his work, of sadness and distance but also love and beauty. His paintings are contradictory, full of jokes and visual puns, and often unsettling and seductive in equal measure.”

Adds Perry: “I am inspired by the way people interact with one another, and how this develops the human psyche. A lot of my paintings portray psychological characterisations, allowing me to personify personalities and emotional states by placing them within narratives rooted in mythology, fables and children’s storybooks. When trying to visualise these, I draw references from film, art history and fashion photography. These visual aids help me to add a theatricality to my paintings. I often address isolating themes, but I want my work to have a kitsch quality that softens or trivialises the intensity of the pursuit of happiness.”

The artist splices references to everyday human experiences with elements that add humour and mischief, such as a shadow gone rogue or references to food. He sees it as a way to “add colour and campness” to his ongoing study of the human psyche.

Freed from the pressures of a gruelling exhibition schedule in 2024, Perry is currently enjoying developing new work in his studio and seeing where the journey takes him. We’ll be watching closely.

About the champion

The Wick - Spotlight Painter Lawrence Perry

Artist Pallas Citroen is the managing director and founder of the Bomb Factory Art Foundation. She created the Bomb Factory in 2015 as a space to enable contemporary visual arts practice to thrive through the provision of affordable studio and exhibition space, and a supportive network for artists. As a Fine Art graduate of Central Saint Martins, she continues her multi-media art practice, focusing on sculpture, installation, and painting, while teaching at CSM, Chelsea College of Art and The Bomb Factory.

“Lawrence has created a modern type of surrealism, one that is influenced by games, fashion, and cartoons, or perhaps life after the pandemic or his personal experiences of illness.”

Place of Birth

Singapore

Education

BFA at the Slade School of Fine Art

Spiritual guides, Mentors

In the last few years of his life, I developed a close friendship with pop artist Duggie Fields. He was a fantastic friend, inspiring mentor and brilliant artist, and when I’m stuck, I often think about what he would tell me to do.

Advice

People always overestimate what you can achieve in a year, and underestimate what you can in three. These words have always comforted me, helping me to set myself a more realistic timeline for progression and self-evaluation.


Share story
READ MORE
The Wick - Spotlight Painter Lawrence Perry
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Phoebe Boswell

The Wick - Spotlight Painter Lawrence Perry
Spotlight

Spotlight artist W.K. Lyhne

The Wick - Bea Bonafini
Photo Teddy Freeman
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Bea Bonafini

The Wick - Spotlight Painter Lawrence Perry
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Gordon Cheung

The Wick - Spotlight Painter Lawrence Perry
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Omar El Habib

The Wick - Spotlight Painter Lawrence Perry
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Cecilia Charlton