The Ottawa Art Gallery is pleased to announce the publication of:
"Andrew Wright: Pretty Lofty and Heavy All At Once."
Conceived as an artist's book, Andrew Wright's multivariate photographic, sculptural and video work is showcased in this 144-page bilingual colour catalogue. Designed by Simon Guibord, the catalogue features essays by photographic scholar Carol Payne, and photo-theorist Randy Innes, with contributions by Ola Wlusek and Michelle Gewurtz.
Pretty Lofty and Heavy All At Once captures four substantive exhibitions held in the last three years featuring works dating between 2001 and 2015. Multimedia works presented in this catalogue appeared in different configurations in Penumbra, a mid-career survey and a primary exhibition of the 2013 CONTACT Photography Festival at The Art Museum University of Toronto, Selected Diptychs & Multiples at the Thames Art Gallery (2014), Tableaux photographiques non-titrés at Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montréal (2015) and Pretty Lofty & Heavy All at Once, Ottawa Art Gallery OAG/GAO (2015).
Wright's contributions to this publication are multiple: his photographs are reproduced as full-colour plates that cleverly punctuate texts by Payne, Innes, and Wlusek. As pieces that attend to the history of the medium itself, Wright's images reflect and refract off of the silvered pages interspersed throughout the book.
Carol Payne considers the historical and contemporary antecedents of Wright’s practice. She writes: “Wright has been preoccupied with questioning the inherited discourses of photography by exploring the visual opportunities that photographic technologies make possible.” In Wright's work, the “engagement with the intellectual play of conceptualism coexists with an aesthetic and technical acuity.” Payne concludes: “Wright's art practice is historically aware while at the same time persistently contemporary.”
Photo theorist Randy Innes’ essay “Photography En Exterus: Andrew Wright and the Expansions of Photography”, draws on philosophical and theoretical models of the photographic that encourage a consideration of photography that does not privilege the activities of depiction and posits Wright’s project as an expression of the mise-en-abyme: “In Wright’s Disused Portrait Camera Considers Wedgwood Vase, the silvery conditions for the possibility of photography have been displaced. Where they were once part of a mirroring function that informs the photographic image itself, the reflective surfaces direct our attention beyond the image-function of photography, and towards its expansions in historical time and material space…Wright's work is located within key contemporary discourses on the status of photography, art, and the image.”
As an artist's book, this publication represents the Ottawa Art Gallery’s ongoing commitment to partnerships and programming that provides a historical and current context of contemporary art practices in concert with the OAG’s $34-million expansion project, due to be completed in 2017.
Launched in a limited edition in London, UK, in conjunction with the exhibition Data Trespass at London Gallery West, University of Westminster, the publication is available exclusively through the Ottawa Art Gallery.
Andrew Wright has exhibited at venues across Canada and abroad in solo exhibitions including: Presentation House, Vancouver; London Gallery West, UK; Prefix ICA, Toronto; University of California, Berkeley; Oakville Galleries. In 2015, his work was included in the second issue of the Milan-based journal, Mould, curated by Joan Foncuberta. Wright's work was also shown alongside works by Michael Snow, Iain Baxter&, and Ed Burtynsky at the Xi’an Art Museum in central China and Beijing's TODAY ART MUSEUM. In 2011, Wright won the inaugural Gattuso Prize at Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto and in 2007, he was named a semi-finalist for the Sobey Art Award.
Wright’s 2016 exhibition at London Gallery West featured a new 130-foot outdoor photographic commission tilted SURGE, and it will remain on view each evening after dark until January 2017.
Carol Payne is Associate Professor of Art History and research associate in the Public History program at Carleton University. She is the author of The Official Picture: The National Film Board of Canada's Still Photography Division and the Image of Canadian Nationhood, 1941-1971. (McGill- Queen’s University Press, 2013) and coeditor with Andrea Kunard of The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011).
Randy Innes holds a Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester. He held the History of Photography research fellowship at the National Gallery of Canada, and he has published research and exhibition essays on historical and contemporary photography, museum theory and practice, and contemporary painting, among other topics. He has taught at Trent University, Carleton University, and the University of Ottawa.
Ola Wlusek is an independent curator. She obtained an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths College, University of London, (London, UK), and she studied anthropology and art history at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON). She has worked in educational and curatorial departments at public art institutions in Canada and abroad for the past ten years.
Michelle Gewurtz is the Interim Senior Curator at the Ottawa Art Gallery. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Leeds, with a specialty in Feminist Theory, History and Criticism in the Visual Arts. Her curatorial projects explore the convergence of gender politics and creative identity, and her research interests extend to both historical and contemporary art practices. Michelle has also taught undergraduate courses in Art History and Gender Studies at the University of Waterloo and OCAD University.
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