Posted on December 7, 2009
Filed Under art | 1 Comment


From The Guardian

The creator of a subtle and unashamedly beautiful fresco in gold leaf has been named the winner of this year’s most prestigious UK art prize. Glasgow-based Richard Wright, 49, used the age-old, painstaking techniques of the old masters to make his glistening wall painting for the Turner prize exhibition at Tate Britain in London. And yet when the show closes on 3 January 2010, it will simply be painted over in white emulsion and lost for ever.

Wright was, until the early 1990s, a figurative painter on canvas. He has since transformed his practice and started creating abstract images on walls. He might be seen as the opposite to the kind of Turner prize contender who captured headlines and provoked controversies at the peak of the Young British Artists boom.

By their very nature, his works – which cannot be transported, bought or sold, and which always have a temporary life – exist outside the art market. “The most important thing is that the paintings are painted over,” he has said.

The paintings are also made with a high degree of craftsmanship and skill – qualities, rightly or wrongly, often seen as lacking in Turner prize nominees by the award’s critics. Wright’s work for this year’s exhibition drew on traditional fresco techniques: creating a cartoon, tracing it on the wall, painting over it in glue and then gilding it.

The Turner prize judges “admired the profound originality and beauty of Wright’s work”. His artworks, which are often determinedly unspectacular, quiet in their mood and lack titles, are created specifically for a particular architectural environment. For the piece he created for the Turner prize exhibition, he was inspired by memories of travelling down from Scotland to London to visit the then Tate Gallery on the overnight bus; one night to get to London, a day in the gallery looking at a single work, and the night to get back.

Seen from a distance, Wright’s golden fresco is an abstract confection. It’s an enormous, complex, symmetrical shape that might remind one of a Rorschach inkblot, but close up you can make out shapes that suggests sunbursts or clouds, recalling the landscapes by Turner or watercolours by Blake that can be seen elsewhere in the gallery.

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One Response to “Fresco”

  1. juan on July 29th, 2014 12:41 am

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