vicky wright at josh lilley gallery

4 November 2010 § Leave a comment

Josh Lilley has a neat, small gallery in Belgravia which frequently seems to have emerging artists well worth watching. The current exhibition, entitled The Informants, is by Vicky Wright, an artist from Bolton who recently graduated from Goldsmiths as a (very slightly) mature student. Between 2006 and 2008 she was shortlisted for no less than three painting awards – the John Moores, Jerwood and Celeste Prizes. Having also had a solo show at the Bloomberg Space last year we really have to stand up and take notice.

She was at Volta New York last year too. She commented that ‘Volta was a big deal in New York and being a sister to the Armory Show it attracted a lot of important collectors. It ended up being a sell out show, and my work is now in very good collections in New York, Germany and Los Angeles. In fact one of them is hung between a Baselitz and a De Kooning!’

She puts an impressive depth of philosophical thought into her works – a short interview with Spacestudios here gives some indication as to how much. Her paintings are based on both portraiture and landscape and explore aspects of power, corruption and propaganda. She has said that ‘the history of genre painting generally, especially portraiture, is that it is commissioned, and tends to immortalise the people who have commissioned it. They are often philanthropists or captains of industry. Philanthropy is a positive thing, but the darker side to this is the extraction of wealth at the price of human misery, whether its coal mining in the north or the production of gems and extraction of minerals in Africa – they all reveal an exploitative transaction. In a sense, the people who aren’t immortalised are the ones who are the exploited. These portraits are looking at those darker histories from a humanist point of view, because of a human desire and need to have these things we are complicit too. The paradoxical nature of these things is the provocation for these works.’

Sometimes too much thinking can get in the way of artistic expression, but in this exhibition the depth of feeling is successfully carried in to the work. I would highly recommend a visit to the exhibition which continues until 8 December 2010

Full details of the exhibition at Josh Lilley Gallery website.

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