Clifton Wright – Borrowed Picasso Portrait | Author Kate MacFarlane

Clifton Wright has been exploring the portrait genre since 2007.  Many of the works he has made in the past decade have taken secondary, two-dimensional sources as a starting point, including family albums and characters from science fiction and popular culture.  A closeness with his subjects was built through re-photographing and working repeatedly with the same image.
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Clifton Wright – Self-portrait from Mirror | Author Kate MacFarlane

Clifton Wright made his first self-portrait in 2007, in pencil on paper.  He studied himself intently in the mirror and after transcribing a notional outline, fixated on the abstract shapes of his features and of the light as it fell on his face.  Delineating his upper lip as two triangles and one side of his forehead as two rectangles, these unshaded flat planes can be interpreted as reflected light.
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Clifton Wright’s Yellow Nose | Author Fiona MacDonald

Clifton Wright has pursued portraiture for several years, working in response to family albums, newspaper and magazine pictures, documentation of exhibitions, and characters from science fiction and popular culture. But from the beginning (he started making portraits in the Intoart studio in 2007) the faces in his drawing have been woven into and enmeshed with tessellations of abstract shapes. The shadows playing across a face gain edges, become independent and find echoes in negative space. The way that face and space fit, knot and flow together are clearly the focus of the work, as much as the specific forms of any particular face.
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Clifton Wright – Notes on Faces | Author Clifton Wright

The face is the most important part of the body, if you get the face right the rest will pretty much follow. It is the shapes in the face and the colours in the face that tell me what the drawing is going to be. My work is more about that abstract stuff than who the person is - a face is the starting point, but the point is the picture. I use the structure of how things slot in to the face, and continue it, like a jigsaw puzzle, across the rest of the picture.
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