PAUL WRIGHT: THE ARTIST’S JOURNEY
Considered one of the most talented portrait painters of our time and regularly compared with Freud, Auerbach and De Kooning, Paul Wright is best known for his bold pops of colour and decisive brush strokes which create a provocative combination of abstraction and likeness. Mostfeature studies of the human head, with famous subjects including Winston Churchill, Gandhi, David Attenborough, Paul McCartney, Samuel Beckett, and even an expressionist rendition of Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”.”Though I often work on a large, potentially imposing scale,” commented Wright, “the work remains approachable through fluency of brush mark and a rich palette. The spaces the subjects inhabit are often indeterminate, providing an atmosphere that allows for ambiguity of psychological state. The subjects retain their integrity and yet a sense of intimacy is evoked”.In recent years Paul has begun to delve into his own life for inspiration. Born in Leicester in 1973, the artist Paul studied at Falmouth College of Art and gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration before deciding that oil painting was his true calling. ”After training as an Illustrator, I have spent the last 15 years developing a painterly language through which I seek to capture a vitality beyond the establishment of a mere ‘likeness’ to the subject. Whilst I appreciate the importance of the individual being recognisable, the subjects areglimpsed rather than exposed, their inner selves hinted at but ultimately inscrutable”.His recent body of work entitled “With Time” draws on Wright’s childhood and the artist’s interactions with his young children who often join him in his studio. The works will be shown in Wright’s first solo show for three years in Spring 2020 and showcase a new, almost naive imagery which seems to herald a new direction for the artist. While his previous portraits seem to demand the attention of the viewer with their striking colours and swirling strokes, these pieces are softer and feature his parents, children, and humble images from home life like a plate of fish fingers and chips. “I feel with this body of work in a way it’s come full circle,” explains Wright. Whereas two years ago I was very much trying to distort the face and work with abstraction, I think I’m coming back to something gentler, maybe more emotional and perhaps more me.” Wright’s artistic practice has also radically evolved over his fifteen year career; “Ten years ago starting a painting was based on a very definite idea, a very definite image i wanted to produce. I think now far more of it is instinctive and happens by osmosis.”Paul Wright’s upcoming show marks a watershed moment in the career of this exceptionally talented artist, tracking his evolution from eye-catching showpieces to simpler, more homely imagery. Only time will tell whether this tamer aesthetic is here to stay.