Simon Cowell and friends feature in new Wilfrid Wood show

If you read our feature on sculptor Wilfrid Wood in the July 2008 issue of Creative Review (read it here), you’ll know that he’s a big collector of outsider art. That he’s showing almost 50 new sculptural works at London’s KK Outlet while the gallery simultaneously hosts an exhibit of painter John Croft’s work is no coincidence…

If you read our feature on sculptor Wilfrid Wood in the July 2008 issue of Creative Review (read it here), you’ll know that he’s a big collector of outsider art. That he’s showing almost 50 new sculptural works at London’s KK Outlet while the gallery simultaneously hosts an exhibit of painter John Croft‘s work is no coincidence…

The work in Wood’s new show, entitled Heads & Bodies, includes his sculptural take on a number of celebrities including Simon Cowell (above) and Sir Paul McCartney (below) as well as pieces based on youths in Hackney to pensioners on the bus.

“Some are in groups like the 13 Rioters, and some are in pairs like Andy and Judy Murray,” says Wood of the new works in the show. “There are some famous people, some friends, and others that are completely invented.”

To give you a sense of scale, the maximum height of Wood’s pieces is 40cm, a limitation dictated, he explains, by his methodology: “Basically, they have to fit into the ordinary home oven I bake them in,” he says. Each figure is made from plastic clay which is fired in his oven before being airbrushed and varnished.

Wood’s show runs from May 3-27, as does Icons, an exhibition of paintings by little-known artist John Croft (his portrait of George Michael is shown above).

Wood explained to CR how the simultaneous exhibition came about: “When I met with Danielle at KK Outlet to organise the show, she mentioned that there is a second room at the back of the gallery which I could use in any way I wanted,” Wood told us. “I thought it might be fun to have someone else’s stuff to contrast and perhaps compliment my own.”


Bowie, by John Croft

Wood had discovered John Croft’s work at a recent exhibition put on by Sussex organisation Project Artworks which sets up courses for people with various learning difficulties. “It is energetically run by two tutors of mine from Hastings College of Art, Kate Adams and Tony Colley,” Wood explains, “and recently I went to a show they put on and was really excited by the work – it seemed the antithesis of the current graphics and illustration world I usually inhabit which can be either so endlessly self referential or comfortably retro,” he continues. “One of my favourite artists exhibiting was John Croft, who has Downs Syndrome. He paints his heroes, mainly pop stars. They’re funny and direct and hit the essence of each character spot on.”


Elton John, by John Croft

Seen cheek-by-jowl to Wood’s work, the idea is that Croft’s paintings provide a contrast in style and medium, whilst also complimenting it too, showcasing another unique and dynamic approach to portraiture.

Wood does, however, have a conern about exhibiting alongside Croft: “I do worry that I’ll be outshone by John,” he says. “I’ve already had to leave my version of Elton John at home because John’s is so much better.”

Wilfrid Wood Heads & Bodies and also John Croft Icons run from May 3 to May 27 at KK Outlet, 32 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6PB.

kkoutlet.com

See more of Wood’s work at wilfridwood.com and more of Croft’s work here.

 

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