Skip to main content Start of main content

De la musique avant toute chose

There are many apologies for the work of Richard Wright. Too many, perhaps. His work might read like a compendium of the strategies that have supported the notions of newly radical painting for the last decade, a textbook compilation of the pleas for relevance that protect the medium of painting from the threats of formalism or obsolescence (or both). As a painter, he escapes the obvious limitations of canvas formats by working in the larger space, directly on walls. Yet, as a wall-painter, he manages to escape as well – to escape the expectations of decorative or topical permanence by allowing his painstaking handiwork to be painted over as soon as an exhibition period has come to an end. Working with situations rather than with objects, he seems to whirl up a lot yet leaves nothing behind. Except, perhaps, the memory of a trace, a touch, or a flourish that, for a short moment, served to highlight the essentially circumstantial character of a place marked by paint, in fact of anyplace marked by paint.