Richard Wright

No title, 2024, Acrylic and graphite pencil, 480 x 692 cm, 189 x 272 1/2 in
The Modern Institute, 3 Aird's Lane, Glasgow

Preview: 06/06/2024, 6-8.30pm

I quickly started to feel that painting was more an action than an object. Painting was something I did to the world, or that was done to the world, but it was also a way of bringing the world nearer, of somehow rehabilitating it.
- ‘Richard Wright in conversation with Will Bradley’ in Richard Wright (2023).

Richard Wright presents a new wall painting at Aird’s Lane, a work that is both site-specific and temporary, activating the gallery for the duration of the exhibition – its geometry drawing attention to the light and air, the way the architecture holds them. The painting is tightly composed and edged but jostling, the flow of shapes, alternating in scale, colour and direction, drawing the eye around the space.

Wright has worked with a close-knit team on the installation for two weeks. It is painted with one-stroke brushes, each section applied meticulously with a steady hand. To produce the composition Wright worked and reworked drawings – cutting, photocopying, composing – and eventually producing a complex digital cartoon. This was then scaled and transposed, firstly in pencil and then paint, with certain areas improvised and changed during the process.

Piet Mondrian’s utopian ‘Transatlantic Paintings’ have been an ongoing interest of Wright’s. This series was produced between 1935 and 1940, with many paintings begun in Europe and finished in New York. The Dutch artist’s process of placing sections of commercial adhesive tape onto a surface to generate compositions and create vibrant colour relationships recalls Wright’s experimentation. Finding a balanced and rhythmic interaction of shape and colour is key for Wright. This concern also speaks to his training as a signwriter in the 1980s in which he specialised in producing hand-painted posters, known then as ‘ticket writing’. While a precise artform this practice taught Wright certain key lessons, specifically that the scaling and space around lettering should always be to the aid of the overall composition. As with signwriting, although the method used to produce the painting is demanding, there is a sense of effortlessness and ease to its final appearance – the material evident but the technique almost invisible.

Richard Wright (b. 1960, London) lives and works in Glasgow and Norwich. Wright has exhibited internationally since 1994 and was awarded the Turner prize in 2009. He has produced several major commissions including those at: Tottenham Court Road Station, London (2022); Queen’s House, Greenwich (2016); Tate Britain, London (2013); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2013); and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010). Selected solo exhibitions include: The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2022); Kunshistorisches Museum, Thesus Temple, Vienna (2013); ‘Works on Paper’, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego (2007); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Le Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Bignan (2005); DCA, Dundee (2004); and Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2001). Selected group exhibitions include: ‘Kunst und Philosophie’, NBK Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2011); ‘Draw A Straight Line and Follow It’, Tate Modern, London (2008); ‘Intelligence’, Tate Britain, London (2000); ‘Drawing Now: Eight Propositions’, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2002); ‘My Head is on Fire but my Heart is Full of Love’, Charlottenborg Museum, Copenhagen; and ‘Painting at the Edge of the World’, Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis (2001).