Grace Wright’s (b. 1992, New Zealand) atmospheric paintings are all-consuming, inviting the viewer into a baroque world of tangled gestures. Markings on the canvas twist and convulse about themselves to build an anarchic structure before unravelling to moments of repose. While Wright’s gestures may be abstract, she views her paintings as representational narratives, evoking the tempestuous rhythm of the natural world, while alluding to 17th-century religious paintings.
Wright’s paintings are a reflection of her world view, her coiling brush marks echoing the ‘rhythmic, cyclical nature’ she identifies as universal forms in the natural world. Wright marries alluring, harmonious colour with visceral imagery to elevate the feminine to monumental standing. Using scale to her advantage, her paintings engulf the viewer, exuding traditionally masculine virtues of power and strength. ‘As a female body’, Wright muses, ‘I would enter a ‘transcendent’, ‘no mind’ state allowing the painting to come through me’. Gestures might then be read as an extension of her body, with their pulsating rhythm; a key methodology of Wright’s practice.
Wright was born in 1992 in New Zealand, and holds a MFA and BFA from the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts. She has exhibited her works across New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. In 2019, Wright was awarded Second Runner Up at the Wallace Art Awards, one of the top art prizes in New Zealand. She has also been a finalist in the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award (2015, 2016) and Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Award, New Zealand (2015). Wright has been profiled and her works highlighted by publications such Ocula (2022), Art Collector Magazine (2021), and Art News New Zealand (2020).