The Art Stable is delighted to be hosting the third solo exhibition of drawings and paintings by William Wright, whose work takes inspiration from his domestic and studio life, intensified during lockdown spent with his family in South London. In some ways the subject matter didn’t change, with the acute observation of familiar and humble objects, but views from his window became overlaid with memories of Paris, the narrow London street opening up to a wider imagined world, a stolen moment of fantasy within the reality of lockdown with three young children.
The drawings in this exhibition continue my interest in the ordinary and everyday, while perhaps more closely reflecting the domestic circumstances under which they were produced. These pieces were made during the first national lockdown in Spring 2020. I was working in the spare room of my house rather than the studio. My routine was punctuated by mealtimes and bouts of home schooling, while stealing a few quiet moments now and then to explore ideas through drawing. They have been stored together in a portfolio up until now and this is the first time any have been exhibited.
I hesitate to call them ‘lockdown’ drawings as I find this a tired concept. Nevertheless, for whatever reason I kept them together and they do all share a particular emotional atmosphere. As a counterpoint to the drawings, I have included a small group of recent paintings which share similar concerns while bringing colour and a different pace.
William Wright's paintings and drawings have for me the same intensity as poems that conjure visual imagery of the world we live in. He is a poet. They have a melancholic ache that comes from someone who is a profound observer. They are wonderfully quiet and distilled, all extraneous detail taken out of them. In many of Will's paintings, because they are so minimal, description of movement creates sound in one's head. The fluttering of a flock of pigeons, the wake of a ferry, the pull of oars through water are images we all know. But his acute editing process enables us to see them without the clutter we experience of living life now. They become meditations on a world less packed to the brim, like a place in a washed out dream or a far off memory. So often they are paintings I wish I had painted, and they link to a line of artists close to my heart, but nevertheless talk to me about living life in the present.