About the artist
Statements on intent, philosophy, technique and influences. A brief history and other information.
About the work: I am often asked what it means - "why did you use that colour?", "what are you trying to say?" etc. The Artist Sonia Lawson, being part of a Royal Academy Hanging Committee, became irritated by her fellow judges and exclaimed: "You’re not meant to understand – they’re bloody works of art!"
We don’t need to understand how any artist made the work, what was in his mind, what kind of underlying structures and rules of composition are involved or even the aesthetic considerations. We can just enjoy it.
The work varies hugely in style. This is because I like to use a technique and approach that is sympathetic to the subject. And, because I don’t need to keep painting the same picture over and over again.
Each piece is created in a particular time and place. The painting from boats laid up at Sunny Corner was made when I had my right arm in plaster. Working with my spare but clumsy arm meant I had to use a simpler technique, as you can see. It also taught me something about simplicity. A hangover might be just the thing to shed new light on an old theme of still life. Reading a book, listening to music, overhearing a scrap of conversation, can all influence any creative work we do. The sculptural piece 'Malone' was inspired by the Trilogy by Samuel Becket. We all made him what he is, what he represents in us, and Bill Sikes, and Falstaff. They are what we are, or could be.
In a sense, all art is abstract, that is to say that something has been abstracted from nature, from the “real” world out there, and transformed into an equivalent of it. Not a copy of course, because that’s both impossible and pointless. If you have a problem coming to terms with non-representational art, think of it as music. We can all enjoy the abstract quality of music. Music only represents itself, and never tries to exactly reproduce sounds of our environment.
"Making art is an inseparable part of my involvement with the 'real' world. The creative process has its roots in day-to-day observation of form, colour, and relationships of one 'thing' with another. Intensive looking and drawing might deepen that observation into a greater understanding. After reflection and trying out ideas, exploring and developing them with rough sketches and compositions, these images somehow evolve into the final work.
I usually like to work directly from the subject, whether it's a figure or landscape. Occasionally I use 'Photoshop' and a graphics pad as part of the process of pictorial development. These new tools for artists and designers enables fast experimentation with immediate, intuitive ideas, both on work that is already in train, and in generating completely fresh images on the monitor. Work on canvas can be photographed, and then be immediately available on screen where alternative colours and tones can be tried out quickly.
The finished works are then shared with people in the 'real' world.
I make my art from conventional artist's materials, or from anything that will serve the purpose. For supports I generally use canvas, heavy watercolour paper and board, and on these I apply collage, paint, ink, or whatever may be to hand and which 'fits'."
For sculpture I use metal, metal mesh, plaster, clay, wood, plastic, paper, cloth, and wire. Some sculpture is left natural and some pieces are painted or coated with various materials.
Originally studying art in Brighton, Peter Wright has lived in Cornwall for the past 34 years in a deeply rural setting not far from Truro and the sea.
All the work on this website is recent but varies in style and content. Colour in these works is as important a factor in the composition as the form, and it is in the language of colour that intuitive, creative ideas are often expressed. Paintings are in all media but much of the work is in oil, gouache or tempera, painted on heavy 300 lb acid free, cotton rag, mould made paper, or on stretched canvas.
Drawings are made in a number of media including ink, conte crayon and coloured chalk, on paper of the best heavy quality cartridge or on tinted pastel paper.
Ceramics and Sculpture
Peter Wright has completed public commissions in hospitals, commercial retail sites and in social housing projects. (While a few ceramic pieces are still available, commissions for ceramic works can no longer be accepted.) 3D work is made from a wide range of materials and a single piece may be of composite construction.
Peter Wright studied at Brighton College of Art in the 1960s, and has lived in Cornwall for the last 34 years. People familiar with his large ceramic murals at Treliske Hospital and at other public sites in the South West, will find a very different but equally dynamic statement offered in this on-line gallery, which focuses on a selection of his recent work.
"I never really understood the 'Dirty Pallet' School of Painting".
There has been a kind of late flowering, characterised by enormous creative energy, joyous vitality, and a life affirming passion. Peter's work represents a celebration of life, and of renewal. It is impossible to look at his recent output without feeling glad to be alive.
"I get asked why I use different materials and media to make my pieces and why my style varies so much. It's because I like to use a method of working that is right for the subject, and because I don't want to keep repeating myself. Or perhaps I just get bored with myself and need to move on"
"After leaving school, I worked for a year in a furnishings store before I realised that I didn't want to do this for the rest of my life, so I applied to the Brighton Art School."
After college, Peter abandoned his graphics training but instead, experimented in making artworks in the fashion of the times; op art, pop art, kinetic constructions, and what we now call 'conceptual art.'
At the age of forty Peter Wright studied ceramics for four years at Cornwall College, and also turned towards a more figurative approach in his painting. Drawing from life became almost an obsession, laying the groundwork for increased confidence in picture-making.
THE SCARY JOURNEY. "When beginning a piece of work I generally have no idea where it is leading, and with only a vague idea of what it might look like when finished. The longer I can keep the work in this fluid state of 'not knowing' the more 'true' the work will be, because I am not imposing my own intentions on it, but discovering the meaning of it through the work itself. This way of working is dangerous and exiting. If you work like this you are always on the edge of disaster, always trying to see how far you can go out on that thin shaking branch before it breaks, or you fall off."
"Artists, like all creatures, are influenced by everything, and everybody, but I am conscious of my admiration for Rembrandt, Matisse, Kandinsky, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Giacometti, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Max Ernst, George Crosz, Emil Nolde, Chagall, Picasso, Rodin, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, to name but a few!"
Previous One-Man shows in Cornwall include: ' Falmouth At Gallery' 1989, "Mid Cornwall Galleries", 'Trellisk' gallery, The Beach Hotel Gallery Penzance, 1992 The ' Market Street Gallery' Penryn 2003. 'The Poly', Falmouth 2008. Peter Wright regularly exhibits in joint exhibitions, while for the last 3 years his 'home' gallery has been The 'Wavelength Gallery' in Falmouth. Sculptural work can be seen the the 'Great Atlantic' gallery, Falmouth.
Outside of Cornwall Peter Wright has exhibited in Brighton, London, and Roscoff Brittany. His work has also been shown in many joint exhibitions.
Work may be also purchased directly from the artist and delivered to most parts of the world.
A brief reason for drawing:
“In a sense one can say that drawing is the most fundamentally spiritual - i.e. completely subjective - of all visual artistic activities. Nature presents our eyes with coloured surfaces to which painted areas of pigment may correspond, and with inflected surfaces to which sculptural surfaces may correspond. But nowhere does it present our eyes with the lines and the relationships between lines which are the raw material of drawing, for a drawing's basic ingredients are strokes or marks which have a symbolic relationship with experience, not a direct, overall similarity with anything real. The relationships between marks, which embody the main meaning of a drawing, can only be read into the marks by the spectator, so as to create their own mode of truth” (1).
Drawing is a way of getting to grips with what's out there in the 'real' world. A successful drawing is one that has “condensed our visual experience of what it is to BE” (2). By drawing a person, a landscape, a pot - you not only become more visually aware, but in closer contact with the world you inhabit. I know that I have understood very little about something as commonplace as a cup, until I have made some drawings of it. Thanks to recent advances in neuroscience, we now know that the crisp, detailed 'reality' we see is only an illusion. What we 'see' is a model in our brain that we project onto the world. It is not until you try to draw your own familiar cup that you realize you have hardly seen it before.
Drawing is also a meditation. By concentrating the mind on this one single thing and this one activity, you cut out all other thoughts of tiredness, hunger, domestic worries or idle distractions, you are in a meditative state. (By concentrating only on the sensation of his breath, the Buddha is said to have obtained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.)
BUT, a drawing is also the subjective result of our own experience, not an objective truth. It is “a truth not of abstract concepts but of visual conviction” (3). To successfully communicate with others by drawing, the subjective analysis of our own 'reality' in the form of a two dimensional image has to conform to certain accepted conventions of visual principles or 'rules' that enable it to be 'understood' by the third party. Where the rules are inadequate the artist has to extend them, develop them, or even invent new ones. (It can take a long time before new principles of drawing and 'seeing' are accepted and understood by the general public, e.g. Cubism.)
Above all, the act of drawing gives me deep pleasure.
(1, 2, & 3 - Philip Rawson, 'Drawing', Oxford University Press.)