0n the wall: Richard Wright's untitled work at Tramway's Sugar Hiccup
Some say painting is a dying art. But painter Richard Wright is having none Of that. Words. Susanna Beaumont
Question: What is the art world’s most endangered species'.’ Answer: Painting. Yes. it has been fashionable of late to claim that
painting is under threat. Some
would have us believe that the
predators —- installation art and ‘ _
new media lle‘tat‘ts like video oi” -’ art ~ are champing at the bit to oust old-hat painting from the gallery space. In turn. painting is lighting its corner and hanging on for dear lil‘e.
Painter Richard Wright is one person who is having none ol‘ it. "l‘o talk about the death of painting is nearly as stupid as talking about the death of speech.‘ is his retort to such silliness.
Wright is one of eighteen artists appearing in About Vision: New British Painting III T/It’ /()‘)().v at Edinburgh's liruitmarket (iallery. A touring show from ()xl‘ord‘s Museum ol‘ Modern Art. it shows that painters are keen to demonstrate not just their medium‘s‘ muscle but its newness and its relevance in the ‘)()s. The (.‘(‘A's l’t’rsislclrr’t' (2/ Painting show in I995 was another example. doing its bit to prove painting‘s determination to survive.
The artists in this show are hardly on the side- lines or under attack. The line—up includes (iary Hume. who was shortlisted for last year's Turner Prize. (‘hris ()l'ili ol' dung/paint lame. plus liiona Rae. (‘allum lnnes and others. (A Damien llirst spiri- painting was included in the Oxford show but isn't making it to lidinburgh).
(ilasgow-based Wright has adopted a different method ol‘ working from the other artists. ‘I can‘t say exactly what I am going to do.‘ he explains. For while the other artists ‘import‘ their work on canvas or board into the venue. Wright has been given a stretch of blank wall space in the l’ruitmarket‘s upper gallery. Here. he will paint directly onto the wall.
Wright adopted this mural approach about four years ago. to escape the usual conventions of painting. A mood painter in the fullest sense of the word. Wright believes that each situation and show calls for a different response. In turn he sets out ‘to do
84 THE LIST 4- i '/ Apr or);
something I couldn't l'oresee doing‘. believing that a prescriptive approach results in cliche. ‘I try and push past that.‘ he says.
Almost like an interior designer. Wright believes that meaning can arise from something ‘as dumb as moving a chair from the table to the window‘. lle eyes up a space before choosing a colour scheme. ‘1 am not starting with a plot. more a character.’ he says. ‘l‘m allowing things that would happen to that character to happetr'
At last _\‘c‘ztt“s 'l‘ramway show Sugar lliccu/i last year. Wright did just that. painting lines. shapes and motifs in colour onto the walls. Now they no longer
exist. Impossible to move. they were painted over when the show finished. The same will happen at the l’ruitmarket. ‘The tempor- alin is crucial] says Wright. ‘They can't come back with me. I can‘t say. "That wasn't a good painting.” They can‘t be piled up in my studio.’
Eastern dress: Lisa Milroy's painting, Kimono
About Vision is at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 12 Apr-Sat 31 May.
Murmurs, musing and goings-on in the art world
IT’S ALL GO at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Part of the Lauriston Building — designed in the 805 by RMJM Architects, of Commonwealth Pool fame — is being remodelled to house Edinburgh's Dental Hospital which is moving from Chambers Street. And thanks to Lottery funding, PACE (Public Art Commissions and Exhibitions) has invited five artists to create
artworks. They include Hermione Wiltshire who filled the city's Stills Gallery at last year's British Art Show with Seaman II, a spray of paperweight~like glass bubbles containing photos of penises, and Casanova, a computer animation of the rise and fall of a souffle. Then there’s Anita Wohlén, a Swedish artist who showed a latex carpet moulded from numerous mouths at the Collective last year. It looks as if a trip to the dentist will be more than just a mouth-opening experience.
JULIAN SCHNABEL is ridiculed as the ’crockery artist' for his plate paintings as well as being too fat, too famous
Jeffrey Wright as Basquiat
g and too lucky has turned his hand to movie-making. Basquiat, charts the
5 rise and death of New York graffiti
artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. It has been decried by some critics as just
another vehicle for his ego and his
. friends — David Bowie plays Andy
I Warhol. Make up your own mind. Basquiat is playing at a cinema near you. See Film preview.
FORMER HEAD OF Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art, Pavel BUChler, has written a reflection of his time there. Entitled What The Cleaners Found it comprises eleven f pamphlets, but readers are advised that ’the contents sheet alone contains 86 four-letter words’. Intrigued? Then move quick as it's a limited edition of 200 at £15 each. Call Martin Rogers at the University 5 of Derby on 01332 622222 ext 4016.
ALEXANDER AND SUSAN MARIS have
been announced by Stills Gallery as
the winners of the 1997 Richard
Hough Bursary. At £14,500, it’s the
largest annual award available to
artists in Scotland working in
' photography, digital imaging or lens- based media. The Maris duo now
plan to take off on a photographic expedition: ‘from the Black wood of
Rannoch to the Bialowiezka forest in
2 Eastern Poland via the Hercynian woodlands of Germany.’