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JH

Exuberantly Rococo Wright

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Installation of Grace Wright's Alpha Paradise exhibition at Gow Langsford. Grace Wright, A Course in Absolutes, 2020, acrylic on linen, 1800 x 1300 mm	Grace Wright, Complicating the Moon, 2020, acrylic on linen,	1200 x 1000 mm	Grace Wright, Considering Pleasure, 2020, acrylic on linen, 1200 x 1000 mm	Grace Wright, Exacting Reality, 2020, acrylic on linen, 1600 x 1300 mm Grace Wright, Sky Cycles, 2020, acrylic on linen, 1600 x 1300 mm	Grace Wright, Rhapsody for a Flower, 2020, acrylic on linen, 2100 x 1500 mm	Grace Wright, Final Fantasy, 2020, acrylic on linen, 1800 x 3660 mm Installation of Grace Wright's Alpha Paradise exhibition at Gow Langsford. Grace Wright, Fortunate Mirage, 2020, acrylic on linen,	2100 x 1500 mm	Grace Wright, Future Strength, 2020, acrylic on linen, 1600 x 1300 mm Grace Wright, Intervals of Altruism, 2020, acrylic on linen, 1800 x 1300 mm	Grace wright, Lasting Ideals, 2020, acrylic on linen, 2100 x 1500 mm	Installation of Grace Wright's Alpha Paradise exhibition at Gow Langsford. Grace Wright, Linear Intention, 2020, acrylic on linen, 1600 x 1300 mm

Wright's vigorous images go beyond self-expression in the sense that there is a strong sense of exuberant fantasy—a convulsive otherworldliness—surprisingly not grounded in interiority. Pretty pastel colours are mixed with earthy sombre hues, conveyed through body-energised arm and wrist actions: sweeps, stabbing shuffles and flicks. She uses a Sydney Nolan type palette and paint consistency popularised by artists such as John Walsh.

Auckland

 

Grace Wright
Alpha Paradise

 

9 September - 26 September 2020

The dozen large paintings by Grace Wright currently being presented at Gow Langsford suggest turbulent cloud formations, scattered petals or spiralling eddies of coloured water; dense clusters of twisting squiggles, bending lines of smudged blobs and arabesque slashes rendered with thin acrylic that looks remarkably like oil paint—but without the sheen.

Blurry blocks of dark umbers, Prussian blues and viridian greens provide the backdrop for this frenetic late Baroque theatre, spasmodically interrupted by peeking patches of flickering luminous light. The looping forms allude perhaps to Judy Millar whilst allowing a pervading whisper of surrealist landscape and sky-hovering streamers in deep space akin to (albeit still) Tanguy.

Wright‘s vigorous images go beyond self-expression in the sense that there is a strong sense of exuberant fantasy—a convulsive otherworldliness—surprisingly not grounded in interiority. Pretty pastel colours are mixed with earthy sombre hues, conveyed through body-energised arm and wrist actions: sweeps, stabbing shuffles and flicks. She uses a Sydney Nolan type palette and paint consistency popularised by artists such as John Walsh.

This artist’s ‘crazed’ brush-smear orchestration has a lot of appeal. It is not mindless energy, but carefully controlled; an impressive show from an obviously talented emerging painter. However, having almost a dozen vertical rectangles almost all the same size does look a bit conveyor-beltish and predictable, as if sticking to a formula. Consequently the much larger Final Fantasy has real impact with its sense of an underlying horizontal panoramic vista, and low altitude ethereal eddies cavorting over a valley-type landscape.

Curiously Wright’s paintings look busier in reproduction than they do when experienced face-to-face. Bodily encountered (and not reduced) they don’t seem cluttered, for the peeling staccato marks appear to be less dense and surrounded by lots of air. Wright’s absent gesturing body steps well back so you can enjoy the undulating vectors and parallel bristle marks in a wiggling field of ribbons. There is no sense of the myriad streamers and puffs of coloured steam being claustrophobic.

John Hurrell

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