Lear in Manhatten,
John Wright’s works, as with all good paintings, have the power to evoke emotion. This power stems, not from John’s masterly control of his medium, but also from his vision. His narrative and figurative canvases are the first of two interests that are the essence of his work.There are several thematic devices at work in these paintings. As a young man, John was very conscious of the destructive aftermath of world conflict and today is much disturbed by the return of images and ideas he, like some many others, had hoped to be long buried.
Some of the recent works are spawned by the tragedies of the Serbian conflict which at times so vividly illustrate the truth of the line from W H Auden’s poem “Musée Des Beaux Arts”;
Raft of the Medusa
Cracking the Air Shell
“Where dogs go on with their doggie life and the torturer’s horse scratches its innocent behind on a tree…”
These paintings are tableaux, which draw upon figures from the past and present, which symbolise some of the triumphs and innate flaws of man. Using images such as the ‘aviator’ John draws upon the tragedy of Icarus and Daedalus or the flawed Lindbergh who was unable to rise above the frailties of mankind.
History of Time
The recurrent image of the drummer is frequently menacing as are images of the ranting politician and blindfolded partisan, creating a complex and compelling imagery.
The other strand of John’s work is his landscape paintings that are an exploration of the abstract imagery he perceives in the relationship between land and sea. As a painter John has a long interest in exploring the integration of tensions between ‘natural’ and man made forms. As nature rapidly and perceptibly merges with technology, creating a deluge of “new realisms”, we come to the realisation through John’s landscape paintings “that reality can no longer be depicted without being interpreted”. He identifies the elements of light and space, manipulating them by the use of colour, texture and line.
It is, however, essential for him “not to secure an immobility of images by this process” as this would prevent any possibility of visionary “free flight”. Together these two strands show John Wright to be a painter of not only great skill and dexterity but also of powerful vision.