Andrew Wright (artist)
Andrew Wright (born September 4, 1971) is a Canadian multimedia artist based in Ottawa, Ontario. He is best known for his work with video and large-scale photography. He holds a specialist degree in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto (1994) and a Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Windsor (1997). Since then, he has lived and worked as a visual artist in Waterloo, Ontario and now Ottawa, Ontario.
Andrew Wright’s work is described as multi-tiered inquiries into the nature of perception, photographic structures and technologies, and the ways we relate to an essentially mediated and primarily visual world. To this end, he has produced sculpture, film, installation, outdoor works and prints that probe phenomena, narrative, antique and contemporary technologies.
One of Wright's most well known work is Blind Man's Bluff, a video installation piece that has been exhibited in galleries across Canada. In this piece, the viewer watches and listens to the describer (played by actor Alan Sapp), a man who is watching and describing one of Boris Karloff's last films titled, Blind Man's Bluff. The viewer does not see the film itself and must piece together the plot from the describer's summary along with the film's script, projected as sub-titles. In his catalogue essay, The Artful Doubter, Robert Enright suggests that, "What is remarkable is how much wringing Wright is able to effect. He uses throughout his script a series of fictional devices that extend, amplify, and layer the filmic narrative. There are numerous occasions where he adds flourishes that force us to consider the characters in the film in radically different ways than how they first appear." Blind Man's Bluff has been shown in the Peak Gallery in Toronto (2003), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (2004), Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba (2004), Art Gallery of Calgary (2004), and most recently in the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario (2007).
Many of Wright's pieces have explored the nature of perception, photographic structures and technologies. His work, Home and Garden (Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario 2002) presented the Gairloch Gardens in Oakville using three different photographic means: an antique camera lucida, a modern still camera and a video camera. The results, suggested by Elaine Hujer (Hamilton Spectator, 2003), are "so profoundly distinctive that viewers may be inspired to review, reinvestigate and reinterpret their own ideas about Oakville's stately lakeside manor."
Wright has also created several large-scale photographs by converting a large gallery space and his studio into a giant pin-hole camera. With reference to Wright's Skies piece, Kevin Temple (Now, 2004) suggests that this work, "is a meditation on modern photographic technology that's able to remove all traces of the process from the picture. Now automated cameras can eliminate the photographer entirely. By controlling his own process – in effect, avoiding its mechanization – Wright draws attention to the act of mediated representation." These themes were also explored in In Camera: The View from Here (Gallery 101, Ottawa, 2000), View of 4th St. West, North Vancouver, using Presentation House Gallery as Camera Obscura (Presentation House Gallery, 2004) and London Camera Obscura (Museum London, 2007).
Wright’s innovative new body of work entitled CORONAE (2011) recently won the inaugural BMW Exhibition Prize during Scotiabank's Contact Photography festival in Toronto. The exhibition continues Wright's investigation into photographic technologies by interrogating how they depict environments and the world around us. This series of large-scale works contributes to contemporary discourses on cameraless photography, challenging conventional understandings about materials, procedures, and functions. “Andrew Wright very skillfully challenges the position and perspective of the viewer, who becomes the figure within the ground of his otherworldly images,” said David Liss, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) and jury member. “Contemplative and darkly beautiful, Wright’s work is about light—the mechanics and the essence of photography—and can refer metaphorically to illumination, inspiration and the origin of the cosmos.”
Wright is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Ottawa. He has also taught extensively at numerous colleges and universities in Canada. Wright is the founding Artistic Director for Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area (CAFKA).
- Nominated for the Yousuf Karsh Award in Photography, 2012
- Winner of the inaugural BMW Prize in Photography, 2011
- Nominated for the Sobey Art Award (2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Semi-Finalist for the Sobey Art Award (2007)
- Nominated for the Yousuf Karsh Award in Photography, 2010
- Leaders Opportunity Fund, Canada Foundation for Innovation, 2010
- Ontario Volunteer Award, Ontario Awards Secretariat, 2004
- OAAG (Ontario Association of Art Galleries) Award, Multi-Media, for the publication Blind Man’s Bluff: 2006
- CFAP (Canadian Forces Artist Program) participant, 2005
- Winner of the Ernst & Young Great Canadian Printmaking Competition (2001)
- Mark Cheetham, Water's Edge, Border Crossings Magazine (Canada) (Issue #103, Fall 2007)
- Robert Reid, The Wright Stuff, The Record (Waterloo Region) (May 19, 2007)
- Gary Michael Dault, Floating Around, Looking at Things, The Globe and Mail (April 24, 2004)
- Kevin Temple, No-Tricks Photography, Now Magazine (April 8, 2004)
- Gary Michael Dault, A Movie, An Experience, At One Remove, The Globe and Mail (June 14, 2003)
- Robert Reid, Video Sheds Funky New Light on Blind Man's Bluff, The Record (Waterloo Region), (May 24, 2003)
- Thomas Hirschmann, Sensory Deception: Two shows play tricks with sight and sound, Now Magazine (June 12, 2003)
- Elaine Hujer, A Garden of Illuminated Delights, Hamilton Spectator (January 11, 2003)