Poor Joys Asylum Level 71
16 January – 14 March 2015
Josh Lilley is thrilled to present Poor Joys Asylum Level 71, Vicky Wright's third exhibition at the gallery.
By working on the reverse side of panels, and hanging each works intended face to the wall, Wright has traditionally attempted to create a structure on which she can reveal an inverse or hidden story. In her earlier works, for instance, abject or remaindered beings were expressed through loose portrait busts, speaking of secret or neglected histories in both industry and the history of art.
For her new exhibition in January 2015, she continues this exploration of painting on reversed panel, creating an alter-space that has allowed her to develop a proposition through the summoning of essence. Imagery inspired by early witchcraft prevails, while books such as The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman have influenced notions of feminist oppression that find form within the paintings. Her use of trompe l'oeil continues, where Wright mimics cheap stationery stickers alluding to Russian constructivist tropes in order to fix such illusions into a more rational yet comedic plasticity. As well as repurposing vernaculars from art history, Wright has equally been drawn to low-grade video-gaming culture, a practice from which she has taken the title for her show. These alternate spaces are occupied and manoeuvred through as out of body experiences. They exist as places not of real power, but instead as zones of symbolic reckoning. She believes a similar grammar is articulated when constructing a painting; the creation of multiple platforms or layers, the struggle with subjugation and control, all the while engaging the physical and the virtual through both hardware and software.
Previous series of Wright's work were more purposefully shrouded, however a clearer figuration arises in this new group of paintings, presenting a collection of anthropomorphic protagonists composed within a psychological tableaux. The dark panels have been given a faux provenance reminiscent of gothic antique patina, onto which multiple layers of oil paint have been used as a way to summon essence. Themes of female power and subjugation are then explored through magical thinking, superstition, and alchemical processes that are wrought out through compositional arrangements. The pretext of witchcraft that was seized upon historically in order to control women in society, finds form through various circles, triangles or sigil-like entities in her paintings. Her rendering of imagery associated with the likes of Malevich or Mondrian are expressed in order for her to be able to domesticate certain Modernist practices. Such an approach draws light on historic constraints placed upon female creativity, allowing her paintings to be seen as pathologies of what the imagination does when it is confined.
Vicky Wright (b. 1967, Bolton, UK) completed her MFA at Goldsmiths College, London in 2008. She has mounted solo exhibitions at Josh Lilley in 2012 and 2010, and at COMMA Bloomberg SPACE, London, in 2009. Selected group exhibitions include Threadneedle Prize, Mall Galleries, London, 2014; Asymmetric Dance Class, Vitrine Gallery, London, 2014; Deceptions of the Eye: Special Effects in Contemporary Art, Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, 2014; The Hecklers, New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, 2013; The Dorian Project, Second Guest, New York, 2012; Paintings, Max Wigram Gallery, London, 2012; and Among Flesh, Alison Jacques Gallery, London, 2011.