From the margins of Essex and Portsmouth, where he grew up and studied, Grayson Perry has won himself a unique place at the centre of Britain’s art establishment. His reputation surged dramatically after winning the Turner Prize 2003, beating the nominated Chapman Brothers and signalling an end to the hegemony of the ‘Young British Artists’. Perry was 43 at the time. His status has been regularly re-confirmed since then with his election as a Royal Academician in 2011, his invitation to give the Reith Lectures in 2013, and most recently his apotheosis as the host of Channel 4’s primetime TV programme, Grayson’s Art Club.
This display includes early dishes and vases from the 1980s and ‘90s alongside Perry’s more recent map-like prints. Like his public persona, these works exhibit contradictory traits of playful humour and vicious wit. In one of his Reith Lectures, Perry observed: ‘We now have Bobos - bourgeois bohemians - so everybody has got a little bit of that artisty lifestyle in them now. We’ve accepted a lot of the things that were weird now are normal.’ Much of his art responds to this state of affairs, celebrating weirdness with a post-modern jamboree of iconography and art historical reference. In addition to his reliance upon traditional pottery techniques of spinning and glazing, his vivid imagery and textual additions coalesce to produce a personal style which is colourful and highly recognisable.