5-3-2B   Research : Richard Wright

Richard Wright is a former sign writer turned Turner Prize winner who makes intricate wall drawings.


Most of the artwork Ricard Wright makes is short-lived.  His works are painted directly onto a gallery wall and are over-painted over at the end of the exhibition.  Turner Prize judge Andrea Schlieker described him as a ‘painter who rejects the canvas’, while judge Jonathan Jones called him a ‘modern fresco painter’. (Balmangallery.com, 2018).

In his work he decorates overlooked architectural spaces often utilising awkward locations such as above doorways, arches and corners.  See Fig B5.  These works are often the cumlation of thousands of small painted marks, often hand-drawn.  They result in a design that is geometrically intricate and on a large scale inviting closer examination to work out the pattern and designs he utilises.

The awkward placing of his work challenges the viewer and their relationship with the artwork.  There is no contemplation standing in front of his work, one must stand possibly in a pedestrian bottleneck with your head craned back.  His work from the 1970’s onwards sought to move away from canvas work to these temporary complicated works.  By making the works on the walls of galleries he also challenged the established art market by removing them as a commodity. (Tate, 2018)

As can be seen from the examples of his work here he often utilises a geometric shaped area using organ shapes and motifs through his work (See his Turner Prize winning entry in 2009 below to see how he utilises the organic shapes under a pyramid shaped ceiling and a rectangular wall.  On other works the shapes are constrained by a geometric rectangular frame within a complicated wall and ceiling structure.  Despite the ungeometric shape due to the setting and framing constraints in the work has echoes of ‘Spirograph ‘about it.

List of Illustrations

Fig. B1. Wright, Richard (nd). Untitled, [online] . Available at: http://www.balmangallery.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=59_185, [accessed on 19 May 18]

Fig. B2. Wright, Richard. (2002). No Title, [online] . Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wright-no-title-t14205, [accessed on 19 May 18]

Fig. B3. Wright, Richard. (2001). Untitled Figure 1, , [online] . Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wright-untitled-figure-6-p78711, [accessed on 19 May 18]

Fig. B4. Wright, Richard. (2011). Kunst Und Philosophie’, [online] . Available at: https://www.themoderninstitute.com/artists/richard-wright/exhibitions/kunst-und-philosophie-nbk-neuer-berliner-kunstverein-berlin-2011-09-03/4853/ [accessed on 19 May 18]

Fig. B5. Wright, Richard. (2009). Turner Prize 2009, [online] . Available at: :https://www.themoderninstitute.com/artists/richard-wright/exhibitions/kunsthistorisches-museum-theseus-temple-vienna-2013-04-18/4850/ [accessed on 19 May 18]


Balmangallery.com. (2018). WRIGHT, Richard. [online] Available at: http://www.balmangallery.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=59_185 [Accessed 19 May 2018].

Tate. (2018). ‘No Title’, Richard Wright, 2002 | Tate. [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wright-no-title-t14205 [Accessed 19 May 2018].

Tate. (2018). ‘Untitled Figure 6’, Richard Wright, 2002 | Tate. [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/wright-untitled-figure-6-p78711 [Accessed 19 May 2018].

Themoderninstitute.com. (2018). Kunst und Philosophie, 2011, NBK Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin – Richard Wright – The Modern Institute. [online] Available at: https://www.themoderninstitute.com/artists/richard-wright/exhibitions/kunst-und-philosophie-nbk-neuer-berliner-kunstverein-berlin-2011-09-03/4853/ [Accessed 19 May 2018].

Themoderninstitute.com. (2018). Richard Wright, 2013, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Theseus Temple, Vienna – Richard Wright – The Modern Institute. [online] Available at: https://www.themoderninstitute.com/artists/richard-wright/exhibitions/kunsthistorisches-museum-theseus-temple-vienna-2013-04-18/4850/ [Accessed 19 May 2018].