Richard Wright is best known for his site-specific yet transient works that unite painting with graphic and typographic elements, charging architectural spaces with a fourth dimension of subtle yet extreme optical complexity and subverting the traditionally static dynamic between painting and viewer. His paintings and applied metal-leaf schemes connote memory and ephemerality—these works are short-lived, oftentimes lasting only as long as the exhibition. Alongside works on interior surfaces such as walls and ceilings, Wright’s works on paper encompass a range of handmade prints, ink drawings, gilding, and watercolors. More recently, Wright has installed leaded glass into existing window or skylight apertures, allowing the work to meld with the fabric of the building. These interventions, utilizing various mediums, serve to shift the viewer’s perception of the space. As Sofia Karamani commented in her text for the Turner Prize in 2009:
“Wright’s profound understanding of art and its history is reflected in his diverse imagery; minimalist patterns and baroque ornamentations to gothic iconography and typography. His wall paintings can occupy whole rooms, appearing convoluted and extensive, to create a sublime impact. Others, subtle and delicate, are awkwardly placed, claiming a modest existence on a ceiling, a cornice, the edge of a wall. As Wright invents alternative spatial arrangements, solid structures can look broken up, reconfigured, or seem transparent and fluid.”
Wright was born in 1960 in London. The first solo exhibition of his work took place in 1994 at Transmission Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland. His work has been shown in major exhibitions worldwide since, including Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2001); Tate Liverpool, England (2001); Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2004); GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2005); Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2008); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010); Theseus Temple, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2013); and Walk through British Art, Tate Britain, London (2013). In addition to permanent private commissions, Wright’s public institutional commissions include the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2007); Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, England (2007); Dean Gallery, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010); The Millbank Project at Tate Britain, London (2011–13); and Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2013).
Wright was awarded the Turner Prize in 2009 and is considered one of the key artists in the generation that emerged out of Glasgow in the 1990s, together with Martin Boyce, Douglas Gordon, and Simon Starling.In 2016 Wright was commissioned to make a vast permanent gold leaf work for the 400th anniversary of the Inigo Jones-designed Queen’s House (now part of the Royal Museums Greenwich), which was the first fully Classically designed building in the UK. Wright’s work cloaks the whole ceiling and upper walls of the Great Hall.
Current commissions include a large-scale gold leaf work for the Crossrail in London at the new Tottenham Court Road station, opening in 2020. In spring 2019 Wright will create painted works on the interior of the landmarked storefront Gagosian space Park & 75, in New York.
Wright lives and works in Norfolk, England and Glasgow, Scotland.
Extended through May 10, 2019
March 5–May 10, 2019
Park & 75, New York
Extended through December 18, 2015
September 29–December 18, 2015
September 1–October 3, 2009
Davies Street, London
January 26–March 5, 2005
980 Madison Avenue, New York
September 10–October 26, 2002
Heddon Street, London
Gagosian at Selfridges Corner Shop
Through March 30, 2019
Selfridges has invited the Gagosian Shop to showcase a curated selection of items at the department store’s Corner Shop in anticipation of the unveiling of London’s new Elizabeth railway line in 2020. The pop-up features apparel by Douglas Gordon and prints by Richard Wright—both artists who will have new public installations in the Tottenham Court Road station, located close to Selfridges—and much more.
To celebrate the closing of the collaboration, Gagosian and Selfridges will host a reception at the Corner Shop in Selfridges on Thursday, March 28, from 6pm to 8pm. To attend the event, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Lucy Dawkins
Douglas Gordon and Richard Wright
Through March 28, 2019
Ahead of the unveiling of London’s new Elizabeth railway line in 2020, Douglas Gordon and Richard Wright were commissioned to create artworks for the windows of Selfridges as part of the department store’s recently launched State of the Arts project.
Selfridges Oxford Street shop windows featuring work by Richard Wright, London, 2019
January 17–20, 2019, booth 309
Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, San Francisco
Gagosian is pleased to participate in FOG Design+Art 2019, with modern and contemporary artworks by Joe Bradley, Edmund de Waal, Helen Frankenthaler, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Damien Hirst, Marc Newson, Giuseppe Penone, Nancy Rubins, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Adriana Varejão, Mary Weatherford, Rachel Whiteread, Jonas Wood, Richard Wright, and others.
To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at email@example.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at fogfair.com. To preview our booth, go to artsy.net.
Adriana Varejão, Pearl Song, 2018 © Adriana Varejão
Art Capital: Art for the Elizabeth Line
March 13–May 6, 2018
Whitechapel Gallery, London
Art Capital: Art for the Elizabeth Line showcases nine internationally renowned artists and their plans to create major public artworks for London’s newest railway, the Elizabeth line. Each artist has been commissioned to create a work of art sympathetic to the locality, history, or function of one of the stations. The exhibition brings together sketches, maquettes, and prototypes to reveal the artists’ ideas transformed into deliverable public art. Work by Douglas Gordon and Richard Wright is included.
Douglas Gordon, Revue, 2018 © Studio lost but found/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2018. Photo: Balazs Studinger