Gregor Wright “Magic Stuff” at The Modern Institute, Glasgow
In “Magic Stuff”, Gregor Wright marries the aesthetics and complexity of painting with the intuitive nature of drawing by employing technology. Eschewing his previous modes of production, Wright presents a new series of works on UHD screens leaned against the walls of the gallery’s Bricks Space. At first glance, one could liken these new works to digital paintings, but— though they very much possess painterly elements—Wright has found a kinship they share with drawings too- their offer of immediacy, a very particular quality he finds key—the speed in which an idea can be realised.
Whereas a painting is built in stages- a ground followed by layer after layer of paint- a drawing offers an indisputable, satisfying instantaneity. Painting requires moments of stepping away, allowing paint to dry, which can leave the work vulnerable, vitality depleted in a cycle of continual change and reworking. Wright built his new body of work with digital tools designed for tablets— the functions fitting for use on these small-scale devices which perhaps draws a parallel to a sketchbook. It can be viewed as a natural progression. He takes as his starting point—which eventually becomes the background- found imagery distorted by a custom-designed algorithm. This imagery is culled from pulp science fiction covers or illustrations from fantasy magazines but in their completed state they are near impossible to detect in the abstract, almost alien compositions. Wright follows by overlaying (and further changing) these newly transformed images with digital marks and strokes- the process characterised by the welcome ability to apply each layer without the pauses and breaks traditional painting imposes.
By placing the screens on the floor and leaning them up against the wall, Wright further removes an explicit association with painting. But possibly what could be the biggest trait that separates these works from a comfortable comparison to painting, or drawing for that matter, is that there is something not quite definite about them—their static nature is not certain.
at The Modern Institute, Glasgow
until 3 November 2018