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GARY WRAGG Spontaneity of Movements

14 March – 12 April 2012

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 22 Mason’s Yard T: +44 (0)20 7930 1262

Duke Street St. James’s F: +44 (0)20 7839 8043

London SW1Y 6BU E: contact@alanwheatleyart.com

United Kingdom W: alanwheatleyart.com


Gary Wragg

‘You have to change to stay the same’ Willem de Kooning

Spontaneity of Movements The moments of NOW create a context of many moments that build an inhabited surface of layered paint, into an organized space of spontaneous movements. The marks, lines and colours are applied directly with little concern for anything other than the contextual awareness of the application of the paint. The paintings relate to the magic and mystery of ordinary everyday experiences of change and being, through the moving touch of the paint itself. Edges are painted to balance in their relationships to light, air, colour, line, form, gravity and anti-gravity that I have attempted to cohere towards a frieze like enclosure of open movement, a liberating factor. In the summer of 2011 I visited the Acropolis Museum in Athens. I was spell-bound by the bas reliefs, sculptures and remnants of antiquity together with the enclosed yet open pile ups of orange off-white marble, strewn around the Parthenon that ignited and re-kindled my interest in the 5th Century Greek Art. The days I had spent at the British Museum in 1963 drawing from the Elgin Marbles is something that has continued periodically throughout my career and the connection is apparent in the present exhibition with some of the works from my Acropolis series.


The great 54/64 Painting and Sculpture of a Decade exhibition of the New York school of painting at the Tate in 1964, was a seminal influence on my interest in gesture and all over painting, in terms of bringing in a new spontaneous directness to my brush marks. During the same decade Bryan Robertson’s amazing major exhibitions of American painting at the Whitechapel Art Gallery together with his British New Generation shows created the most exhilarating climate of excitement. My concerns from those days have been taken ‘around the block’, so to speak, alongside new interests that over the past five decades have continued, albeit with a transformed understanding of spontaneity of movement. My introduction to Tai Chi, Chinese philosophy, art and the awareness of the art of balanced movement began in the early seventies at The Place in Bloomsbury. In consequence, my painting since then has always been nourished and given shape from the felt sensations of playing the internal art of Tai Chi Chuan, the imperceptible and inexpressible. The feeling in the arms and body of light/heavy, stillness/movement, springy/expansive, smooth, subtle and tranquil energies while walking, standing, sitting or reclining are valued sensations that I have cultivated and drawn on through my daily concerns for the various issues of painting and drawing. Spiral energy, sinking or rising, weighted or weightless, substantial or insubstantial comprises some of the aspects of my exploration over the years. Painting and Tai Chi are for me an interlinked way of life, the essence of which is freedom of movement and the liberation of focused sensations. Likewise, I have always held that abstract and figurative interests develop in parallel. Each work consists of a dialogue of complimentary opposites. The early watercolours and acrylic paintings that I painted in the late 1960’s whilst I was a student at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, and exhibited at Alan Wheatley Art in 2010, have been redeveloped in the recent Edge Interior series. So too have the Box series (1966) and the Interiors (1967). Progress, for me, has always been a cyclic rather than a linear journey, working on different groups of paintings simultaneously. Sometimes the themes overlap and interrelate and other times they stay separate. The Nice/Vence paintings (2007-2010) were worked on at the same time as the Interiors and Tangram paintings (2009-2010). The Metro series (2010-2011) were worked on at the same time as the Edge and Box paintings. In my memorable visit to Willem de Kooning’s studio in 1985 I was impressed with the way he stood - firmly, rooted more than most Tai Chi practitioners that I knew. On one of the days he looked at my works on paper spread around the floor, and said, “I like the light coming through”. It was for me a very special experience. We talked a lot about other painters, such as Mondrian, Soutine, Matisse and Degas. His late white paintings of 1985 were propped against the studio supports. Seeing the same paintings again at the recent major exhibition Willem de Kooning: A Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in early December 2011, I was deeply moved and reminded that they are indeed a major part of my own odyssey. For me they are a great example of the liberation from the confinement of the edge exemplified by the reality of light heaviness, which to my mind is rare in contemporary painting. It is a quality highly revered and reflected in Taoism and Tai Chi and a yardstick for my own visual explorations.

Gary Wragg February 2012


Gary Wragg at his studio in Epping Upland, 2012

Positive Provisional Gary Wragg is a painter whom artists of about my age (a clear generation younger) would do well to make something of a cult of. I am not sure how he would react to this idea or to its realization but it seems to me to have some legs. I’m going to begin to say why I think this is through comparison with a relatively recently named trend within abstract art. A couple of weeks ago I came across the article ‘Provisional Painting’, in which Raphael Rubinstein considers the work of a number of artists that have for some years left me irritated or nonplussed. 1 In a way the article validated my responses to Raphael Rubinstein, ‘Provisional Painting’, Art in America, May 2009. Raoul De Keyser, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool, Mary Heilmann and Michael Krebber are the first five mentioned by Rubinstein. It is perhaps worth noting that Wragg is either younger or less than ten years older than these artists. 1


paintings which their apologist highlights as ‘uncertain, incomplete, casual, self-cancelling or unfinished’, as ‘amateur’, as achieving an ‘abject awkwardness’ or dealing in ‘sloppy craft, outmoded style, impenetrable obscurity’. The enjoyment validation brought was added to when I realized that, though he avoided the above traits, provisional was a word which well described Wragg’s art. Beyond an aversion to market-ready finish or achievement (aversions which, happily for many of the painters Rubinstein discusses, the market has also adopted), Provisional Painting gains at least part of its justification through its historical position; that is, through the attitudes toward its predecessors and toward the current situation which its lack of finish, negation, etc., etc., can be taken to imply. Viewing the creation of masterpieces as ‘impossible’, Provisional Painting shies away from heroism. It also attempts to avoid the narratives, which though advanced by opposing camps are really two sides of the same coin, of constant past-defeating progression in painting and of painting’s demise (either long gone or imminent). Still committed to painting, however half-heartedly, Provisional Painting no longer wants to ‘fight’ to overcome what came before, nor does it simply want to abandon painting’s ship, but rather seeks ‘to break existing, perhaps unspoken, contracts with painting… in order to draw up other protocols that will renew the medium’. Wragg is also an artist who avoids heroic, definitive or authoritative statements, who posits a vision of art which is as circular, or perhaps labyrinthine, as it is progressive. In all these senses he is provisional, almost with a capital ‘P’. Where Wragg differs – or at least the most crucial of the many ways in which he differs - from those artists gathered under Rubinstein’s rubric is in his evident and overriding belief in art, and in abstract art, as a place of meaningful and compelling visual experience. Belief in visual experience, and crucially the ability to create it, underlies and makes convincing his openness and lack of dogmatism (it is hard to imagine a less dogmatic artist). It also allows him if not to attempt to defeat the past, then at least to profitably measure himself against it. He is able to draw on earlier moments in his own history and across the history of painting whilst managing to avoid introversion or quotation. He also side-steps the fixed grooves or sermonizing, implicit or explicit, which beset some other abstract artists who might be considered his near contemporaries. The fluidity of this stance lies somewhere at the heart of why I think he could be useful to a painter of my generation, showing a way through painting that avoids confrontation or failure, irony or antiquarianism. Whilst I have sympathy with its disavowal of the heroic, the provisional in Provisional Painting appears to me an easily achieved (international) house-style. I find it hard to shake the prejudice that it presents vagueness, deflation or failure not because of the weight of history, but rather as it reflects and so justifies the apathy or lightly-worn irony of its audience or perhaps just serves artists as a kind of preemptive excuse. More importantly, despite Rubinstein’s protestations to the contrary, its practitioners appear primarily concerned with making gestures about painting and so to be working to a strategy or agenda. Readily theorized, art as strategy avoids the need for a belief in compelling visual experience and lessens the need for any actual engagement with the medium (with the complexities of how this particular painting might be made, and made effective), which in turn means it cannot add anything in the way of visual structures or images. Without these additions renewal remains an idea and a hollow one at that.


In contrast, for Wragg the provisional is not a negation nor a conceptual gesture but rather a complex visual layering (an act he sees as central to painting) of affirmations, each asserting itself in partial contradiction to those it precedes and follows. Crowding the surfaces and spaces of his pictures these affirmations lead to incredibly mutable structures which both reveal and undermine a fully achieved order. Each mark becomes part of a matrix of contingencies that variously shift to open up successions of briefly held clarities. This shifting embodies the provisional within his paintings. The experience of looking at Wragg’s paintings is one which requires a kind of positive and engaged openness, in which the viewer is constantly called into the search for fresh relations, and which presents us, within each painting and from painting to painting, with a constantly evolving set of possibilities. More important – as more concrete, more tied to the specifics of picture-making - than the projection of a fluid stance toward the past that I mentioned above is the almost dizzying variety of structures and colour relations which these possibilities consist of and which Wragg opens up for other painters. Lurking behind Provisional Painting, and of immense importance to Wragg, stand the achievements of American Abstract Expressionism. Though Rubinstein acknowledges the gestural painting of Robert Motherwell or Joan Mitchell as precedents for Provisional Painting there still remains a lingering feeling that it is precisely the achievements of post-war American painting that have caused the retreat he describes (even if he does not quite describe it as a retreat). It is as if Abstract Expressionism and its progeny could not neither be fully faced nor avoided, with the only option seeming to be an isolation of its heroic rhetoric (ignoring the fact that this was only ever one aspect of its endeavour) so it can then be caricatured, parodied or deflated. Again Wragg’s stance is more engaged and more complex; he does not avoid the heroic aspects of Abstract Expressionism by ironising or deflating its rhetoric but somehow seems to avoid its heroism by opening its wider achievements out from the inside. He does this through variety and incident, through leaving contradictions active, through allowing both the ugly and the lyrical, the direct and the tangential, though avoiding composition, symmetry or an evenly resolved all-overness, through intimacy, through giving into the sweet or the voluptuous, through more than occasional failure (something highlighted by his long-term supporter and collector Bryan Robertson), through a non-exclusive abstraction able to contain figuration (diffused or overt), through striving to acknowledge different registers of experience and through undercutting seriousness with moments of levity or exuberance. As an important adjunct to this list, it is worth looking at Wragg’s proclivity for looping back to earlier moments in his painting and in the history of art. Titian, Matisse, Bonnard and de Kooning (and in particular their various generous sensualities) loom large in his cannon, and he has interpreted works by the first two, as well as responded – both directly or through what Robertson called ‘after-images’ – to Rubens, Cézanne, Goya and Giacometti, amongst others. These homages link to a particularly intriguing aspect of his attitude to art, an idiosyncrasy in an artist who embraces the idiosyncratic whilst in the main not falling prey to the whimsical. Despite the complete absence of heroism in his paintings or, as far as I can tell, in his sense of himself, he is very attentive to the lives of the artists to whose art he is committed. This has led to a number of quasi-pilgrimages to the sites where artists worked.


In his introduction Wragg refers to his recent visit to the Acropolis as well as his 1985 visit to de Kooning at his studio in Springs, East Hampton, New York state. This latter occasion is of immense importance to Wragg and he often refers to various aspects of it in conversation. As his thoughts on de Kooning’s stance imply, the impact it had on Wragg lies in the direct way in which he could make connections between the artist, his art and the studio. In 2008 Wragg made a visit of a similar nature, though without the actual presence of the artist, when he stayed at Le Rêve, Matisse’s studio in Vence in the south of France. Rosy-Fingered Dawn, in the current exhibition, works to integrate a different set of connections. Its title follows one of the great pastoral paintings de Kooning made in response to bicycle trips to Louse Point, a watery spit of land near his studio, and in turn is a reference to an epithet which reoccurs throughout Homer’s Odyssey. Wragg’s appropriation of the title signals his desire to combine the recent revival of his interest in the art of Ancient Greece with his response to de Kooning, particularly the memories of the trip he himself made to Louse Point after leaving de Kooning’s studio on a November evening during the 1985 visit. This complex filtering finds an equivalent in the complexities of Wragg’s paintings, though perhaps we can say that, though the connections are important, even vital for Wragg, they are simply interesting for us, and we certainly do not need to be aware of the details to appreciate the paintings. We can feel the effect without having to trace it back to its source. Beyond a kind of biographical interest, for me the range of Wragg’s interest in the art of the past often tells in his colour. Amidst the diverse and frequently surprising relations his works present (or rather amidst the relations which seem to occur in his pictures – colour in Wragg often feels glimpsed, as if revealed through a slow or sudden parting, or as if just noticed after previously existing on the cusp of sight) there is, every now and then, the feeling of recognition. This may involve the depths of a Venetian red, the light which glides or scuttles through Bonnard’s bathrooms or the memory of the just felt sun which Matisse could shoot through a cool blue interior. These occasional flashes of remembrance or rescue sit alongside Wragg’s habit of returning to earlier moments in his own work, a tendency represented in some depth here. Cornerstone, Last Red and London Allegory are three of a number of works from the Edge series that takes its cue from a group of paintings from the late sixties, which were accidentally destroyed in a studio move in 1971 (studies for or small versions of these sixties works were exhibited by Alan Wheatley Art in 2010). Paintings such as Interior and Now, Still Life Interior or Interior, partly inspired by his 2008 residence at Vence, began as responses to his Interior with Figure of 1967, whilst Red White & Blue Diagonal, Steep Diagonal 2 and Steep Diagonal 3 from the Box series all follow a group of paintings he made between 1966 and 1967. What these re-versions seem to indicate is that his backward looking moves are not made nostalgically or in the hope of reassurance or comfort, but as a way of maintaining difficulty; allowing undiscovered aspects of his previous work to appear or to filter his current approach through (and test it against) the submerged impulses from which mark by mark it emerged. This swinging motion of give and take between past and present seems an important lesson for abstract painting in general. For Wragg it is just one aspect of his positive and provisional painting, where the circular or the labyrinthine is the condition of forward movement. Sam Cornish February 2012


PAINTINGS


1

Interior and Now

2008-2010

Acrylic

160 x 129.5 cm

2

Still Life Interior

2008-2010

Acrylic

160 x 129.5 cm

3

Interior

2009-2010

Acrylic

160 x 139.5 cm

4

Open Challenge

2007-2009

Acrylic

206 x 139.5 cm

5

Tangram 3

2008-2009

Acrylic

151 x 60.5 cm

6

Untitled

2008-2009

Acrylic

170 x 81 cm

7

Tangram Green & Beige

2008-2010

Acrylic

160 x 129.5 cm

8

Tangram Pink Yellow & Blue

2008-2010

Acrylic

160 x 139.5 cm

9

Tangram Blue & Black

2008-2010

Acrylic

160 x 129.5 cm

10

Tangram Blue

2008-2010

Acrylic

160 x 139.5 cm

11

Fluxual

2008-2010

Acrylic

160 x 129.5 cm

12

Green Catch

2009-2010

Oil

160 x 139.5 cm

13

Orange Tangram

2009-2010

Acrylic

167.5 x 137 cm

14

Hansel & Gretal Tangram

2009-2010

Oil

160 x 139.5 cm

15

Metro 1

2010-2011

Oil

167.5 x 142 cm

16

Metro 2

2010-2011

Oil

167.5 x 168 cm

17

Dalston Blue Screen

2009-2011

Oil

167.5 x 195.5 cm

18

Yellow Loop Purple Gift

2009-2011

Oil

167.5 x 193 cm

19

Labyrinth of the Superfast

2008-2010

Oil

167.5 x 152.5 cm

20

Clipper, Iris of the Fleet-Foot

2011

Oil

170 x 157.5 cm

21

Rosy-Fingered Dawn

2009-2010

Acrylic

160 x 170 cm

22

Rosy-Fingered Dawn Fantasy

2010-2011

Oil

170 x 152.5 cm

23

Orange Edge Orange Wedge

2010-2011

Oil

170 x 152.5 cm

24

Green Edge Orange Corner, Alcinous Palace

2010-2011

Oil

170 x 152.5 cm

25

Orange Edge, Yellow & Green [Box Acropolis Remnant]

2010-2011

Oil

150 x 119.5 cm

26

Yellow Edge [Box Acropolis Remnant]

2010-2011

Oil

150 x 119.5 cm

27

Stillness When There Was Stillness

2006-2009

Oil

100.5 x 100.5 cm

28

Secret of Faces & Edges

2006-2010

Oil

100.5 x 100.5 cm

29

Cornerstone

2006-2010

Oil

100.5 x 100.5 cm

30

Last Red

2010

Oil

100.5 x 100.5 cm

31

Cythera

2010

Oil

100.5 x 100.5 cm

32

Harlequinade

2010

Oil

100.5 x 100.5 cm

33

London Allegory

2010

Oil

100.5.x 100.5 cm

34

Opera of Moments

2010-2011

Oil

93 x 93 cm

35

Lilac White Wedge

2010-2011

Oil

93 x 93 cm

36

White Dove – Afterglow

2011

Oil

100.5 x 100.5 cm

37

Metro Blue

2009

Oil

61 x 51 cm

38

Ornamonte

2010

Oil

61 x 51 cm

39

Garden Party

2010

Oil

61 x 51 cm

40

Madam Dulac

2010

Oil

61 x 51 cm

41

Parnassian Daydreamer

2010

Oil

61 x 51 cm

42

Speculative Energies of Youth

2010

Oil

61 x 51 cm

43

Red White & Blue Diagonal

2010

Oil

61 x 51 cm

44

Steep Diagonal 2

2010

Oil

61 x 51 cm

45

Steep Diagonal 3

2009-2012

Oil

137 x 122 cm


1 Interior and Now 2008-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 129.5 cm / 63 x 51 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


2 Still Life Interior 2008-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 129.5 cm / 63 x 51 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


3 Interior 2009-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 139.5 cm / 63 x 55 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


4 Open Challenge 2007-2009 Acrylic on canvas 206 x 139.5 cm / 81 x 55 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


5 Tangram 3 2008-2009 Acrylic on canvas 151 x 60.5 cm / 59 ½ x 23 ž inches Signed, titled and dated verso


6 Untitled 2008-2009 Acrylic on canvas 170 x 81 cm / 67 x 32 inches Signed and dated verso


7 Tangram Green & Beige 2008-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 129.5 cm / 63 x 51 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


8 Tangram Pink Yellow & Blue 2008-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 139.5 cm / 63 x 55 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


9 Tangram Blue & Black 2008-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 129.5 cm / 63 x 51 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


10 Tangram Blue 2008-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 139.5 cm / 63 x 55 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


11 Fluxual 2008-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 129.5 cm / 63 x 51 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


12 Green Catch 2009-2010 Oil on canvas 160 x 139.5 cm / 63 x 55 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


13 Orange Tangram 2009-2010 Acrylic on canvas 167.5 x 137 cm / 66 x 54 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


14 Hansel & Gretal Tangram 2009-2010 Oil on canvas 160 x 139.5 cm / 63 x 55 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


15 Metro 1 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 167.5 x 142 cm / 66 x 56 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


16 Metro 2 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 167.5 x 168 cm / 66 x 66 Âź inches Signed, titled and dated verso


17 Dalston Blue Screen 2009-2011 Oil on canvas 167.5 x 195.5 cm / 66 x 77 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


18 Yellow Loop Purple Gift 2009-2011 Oil on canvas 167.5 x 193 cm / 66 x 76 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


19 Labyrinth of the Superfast 2008-2010 Oil on canvas 167.5 x 152.5 cm / 66 x 60 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


20 Clipper, Iris of the Fleet-Foot 2011 Oil on canvas 170 x 157.5 cm / 67 x 62 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


21 Rosy-Fingered Dawn 2009-2010 Acrylic on canvas 160 x 170 cm / 63 x 67 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


22 Rosy-Fingered Dawn Fantasy 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 170 x 152.5 cm / 67 x 60 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


23 Orange Edge Orange Wedge 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 170 x 152.5 cm / 67 x 60 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


24 Green Edge Orange Corner, Alcinous Palace 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 170 x 152.5 cm / 67 x 60 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


25 Orange Edge, Yellow & Green {Box Acropolis Remnant] 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 150 x 119.5 cm / 59 x 47 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


26 Yellow Edge [Box Acropolis Remnant] 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 150 x 119.5 cm / 59 x 47 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


27 Stillness When There Was Stillness 2006-2009 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 100.5 cm / 39 ½ x 39 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


28 Secret of Faces & Edges 2006-2010 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 100.5 cm / 39 ½ x 39 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


29 Cornerstone 2006-2010 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 100.5 cm / 39 ½ x 39 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


30 Last Red 2006-2010 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 100.5 cm / 39 ½ x 39 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated


31 Cythera 2010 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 100.5 cm / 39 ½ x 39 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


32 Harlequinade 2010 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 100.5 cm / 39 ½ x 39 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


33 London Allegory 2010 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 100.5 cm / 39 ½ x 39 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


34 Opera of Moments 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 93 x 93 cm / 36 ½ x 36 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


35 Lilac White Wedge 2010-2011 Oil on canvas 93 x 93 cm / 36 ½ x 36 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


36 White Dove - Afterglow 2011 Oil on canvas 100.5 x 100.5 cm / 39 ½ x 39 ½ inches Signed, titled and dated verso


37 Metro Blue 2009 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm / 24 x 20 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


38 Ornamonte 2010 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm / 24 x 20 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


39 Garden Party 2010 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm / 24 x 20 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


40 Madam Dulac 2010 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm / 24 x 20 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


41 Parnassian Daydreamer 2010 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm / 24 x 20 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


42 Speculative Energies of Youth 2010 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm / 24 x 20 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


43

44

Red White & Blue Diagonal 2010 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm / 24 x 20 inches Signed, titled and dated verso

Steep Diagonal 2 2010 Oil on canvas 61 x 51 cm / 24 x 20 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


45 Steep Diagonal 3 2009-2012 Oil on canvas 137 x 122 cm / 54 x 48 inches Signed, titled and dated verso


WORKS ON PAPER


46

Nice/Vence #1

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

57 x 76 cm

47

Nice/Vence #2

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

57 x 76 cm

48

Nice/Vence #3

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

57 x 76 cm

49

Nice/Vence #4

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

57 x 76 cm

50

Nice/Vence #12

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

48 x 36 cm

51

Nice/Vence #23

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

48 x 36 cm

52

Nice/Vence #24

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

48 x 36 cm

53

Nice/Vence #25

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

48 x 36 cm

54

Nice/Vence #27

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

48 x 36 cm

55

Nice/Vence #30

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

48 x 36 cm

56

Nice/Vence #31

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

48 x 36 cm

57

Nice/Vence #32

2008

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

48 x 36 cm

58

Tangram #1

2008-2009

Acrylic

51 x 40.5 cm

59

Tangram #3

2009

Acrylic

51 x 40.5 cm

60

Tangram #4

2009

Acrylic

51 x 40.5 cm

61

Tangram #5

2009

Acrylic, pastel and pencil

51 x 40.5 cm

62

Intercept

2009

Acrylic

51 x 40.5 cm

63

Overhand – Upper Hand

2009

Acrylic

51 x 40.5 cm

64

Counter Spin

2009

Acrylic

59 x 49.5 cm

65

Reverse Spin

2009

Acrylic

59 x 49.5 cm

66

Loop #1

2010

Acrylic

28.5 x 38 cm

67

Loop #2

2010

Acrylic

28.5 x 38 cm

68

Loop #3

2010

Acrylic

28.5 x 38 cm

69

Loop #4

2010

Acrylic

28.5 x 38 cm


46

47

Nice/Vence #1 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 57 x 76 cm / 22 ½ x 30 inches Signed and dated '28/7/08' verso

Nice/Vence #2 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 57 x 76 cm / 22 ½ x 30 inches Signed and dated '30/7/08' verso

48

49

Nice/Vence #3 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 57 x 76 cm / 22 ½ x 30 inches Signed and dated '31/7/08' verso

Nice/Vence #4 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 57 x 76 cm / 22 ½ x 30 inches Signed and dated '31/7/08' verso


50

51

Nice /Vence #12 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 48 x 36 cm / 19 x 14 ¼ inches Signed verso

Nice /Vence #23 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 48 x 36 cm / 19 x 14 ¼ inches Signed verso

52

53

Nice /Vence #24 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 48 x 36 cm / 19 x 14 ¼ inches Signed verso

Nice /Vence #25 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 48 x 36 cm / 19 x 14 ¼ inches Signed and dated ’18-24/08’ verso


54

55

Nice /Vence #27 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 48 x 36 cm / 19 x 14 ¼ inches Signed verso

Nice /Vence #30 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 48 x 36 cm / 19 x 14 ¼ inches Signed verso

56

57

Nice /Vence #31 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 48 x 36 cm / 19 x 14 ¼ inches Signed verso

Nice/Vence #32 2008 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 48 x 36 cm / 19 x 14 ¼ inches Signed verso


58

59

Tangram #1 2008-2009 Acrylic on paper 51 x 40.5 cm / 20 x 16 inches Signed and dated 'Dec '08 - 6/2/09' verso

Tangram #3 2009 Acrylic on paper 51 x 40.5 cm / 20 x 16 inches Signed verso

60

61

Tangram #4 2009 Acrylic on paper 51 x 40.5 cm / 20 x 16 inches Signed verso

Tangram #5 2009 Acrylic, pastel and pencil on paper 51 x 40.5 cm / 20 x 16 inches Signed lower left and dated '4/2/09' lower centre; dated again 'Dec/Jan/Feb '09' lower right


62

63

Intercept 2009 Acrylic on paper 51 x 40.5 cm / 20 x 16 inches Signed and dated '30/1/09 - 3/2/09' lower left

Overhand – Upper Hand 2009 Acrylic on paper 51 x 40.5 cm / 20 x 16 inches Signed and dated 'Jan-Feb '09' lower right

64

65

Counter Spin 2009 Acrylic on paper 59 x 41.5 cm / 23 ¼ x 16 3/8 inches Signed and dated '3/2/09' lower right

Reverse Spin 2009 Acrylic on paper 59 x 41.5 cm / 23 ¼ x 16 3/8 inches Signed lower left and dat0ed '4/2/09' lower centre


66

67

Loop #1 2010 Acrylic on paper 28.5 x 38 cm / 11 ¼ x 15 inches Signed lower left and dated ‘26/1/2010’ lower right

Loop #2 2010 Acrylic on paper 28.5 x 38 cm / 11 ¼ x 15 inches Signed lower left and dated ‘27/1/2010’ lower right

68

69

Loop #3 2010 Acrylic on paper 28.5 x 38 cm / 11 ¼ x 15 inches Signed lower left and dated ‘27/1/2010’ lower right

Loop #4 2010 Acrylic on paper 28.5 x 38 cm / 11 ¼ x 15 inches Signed and dated ‘12/2/2010’ lower right


BIOGRAPHY Gary Wragg, born in 1946, first attended the High Wycombe School of Art before moving to London. There he studied at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, where he won a Rotary Travelling Prize to Florence and Rome as well as the Lord Carron Prize awarded by Bryan Robertson. He continued post-graduate painting at the Slade School of Fine Art and won a Boise Travelling Scholarship to USA and Mexico, which he took in 1972. He also received an Arts Council grant in 1975 and a London Arts Association grant in 1978. Wragg’s trips to America, first to New York and Provincetown to visit Jack Tworkov, between 1971 and 1974, and time he spent in Springs, East Hampton with Willem de Kooning in 1985, were highly significant in his artistic development. His first one man exhibition was held at Acme Gallery, London in 1976, with a subsequent successful show in 1979. He exhibited regularly at the Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London, between 1980 and 1989 and held a series of important solo and group exhibitions at Flowers East, London, between 1996 and 2010. In his work Wragg explores from what he calls his ‘treasure chest’, a traditional lineage of Poussin, Titian, Rubens, Goya, Delacroix, Cézanne, Bonnard, Matisse, Pollock and de Kooning. Since the late seventies Wragg’s love for painting has integrated with his passion for the Chinese martial art of Tai Chi Chuan. Wragg has found that the gestures and controlled movements of the discipline have formed a parallel in the painting and his work has subsequently evolved from the vocabulary and legacy of Abstract Expressionism to his investigation of energy painting.

TEACHING / LECTURING 1971-1988 1971-1993 1971-1996 1975-1997 1994-1995 1995 1996 1998 1998-2003 1999 2001 2004 2004 2005-2009 2009-2011

Portsmouth Polytechnic Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London Visiting Lecturer: Chelsea School of Art, London; Slade School of Art, London; Bath Academy of Art St. Martin's School of Art, London Slade School of Fine Art, London Tate Education Department Special Projects: A Dialogue with de Kooning, Tate, London Tate Education Department Special Projects: Figuring Cézanne, Tate, London Tate Education Department Special Projects: Jackson Pollock Exhibition, Tate, London Artist Summer Residence, The Painting School of Montmiral, Castelnau de Montmiral, S.W. France Drawing Masterclass, Classic Cézanne Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia Cézanne Lecture, Newcastle University Drawing Marathon, Studio School, New York, USA Artist in Residence, Alayrac, France Annual Studio Drawathon, Vyner Street, London Annual Studio Drawathon, Epping Upland, Essex


SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

1976 1978 1979

Arts Council of Great Britain Barclays de Zoete Wedd, London Contemporary Arts Society, London DeBeers Consolidated Mines, London Eastern Arts Association, Leicester The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge Leicestershire Education Committee, Glenfield National Gallery of South Africa, Cape Town Pompidou Centre, Paris, France Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham Saatchi Collection, London Slade School of Art Collection, London St. Pancras Library, London University College, London Victoria & Albert Museum, London

1982 1983 1984 1986 1989

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1996 1997 1999 2000 2003 2006 2008 2010

Acme Gallery, London Newcastle Polytechnic Art Gallery Acme Gallery, London Peterloo Gallery, Manchester Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London Castlefield Gallery, Manchester Nicola Jacobs Gallery, London Jean Wainwright, Chiswick, London Open Studio, Hackney, London Studio Show, West Hampstead, London Goldsmiths Gallery, London Studio Show, West Hampstead, London Gallery 10, London Studio Show, West Hampstead, London Studio Show, West Hampstead, London Studio Show, West Hampstead, London Studio Show, West Hampstead, London Works on Paper, Gallery M, Flowers East, London Flowers East, London Flowers East, London King Street Gallery, Sydney, Australia The Quiet Paintings, Flowers East, London Flowers Central, London Studio Show, Vyner Street, London Burgh House, Hampstead, London Flowers East, London Mason’s Yard Gallery, London Early Works 1968-1969, Alan Wheatley Art, London


Coming or Going 2012 Oil on canvas 30.5 x 25.5 cm / 12 x 10 inches Signed, titled and dated verso

Natural Limits 2012 Oil on canvas 30.5 x 25.5 cm / 12 x 10 inches Signed, titled and dated verso

Front cover: Secret of Faces & Edges (cat. 28)

Published to accompany the exhibition Gary Wragg: Spontaneity of Movements, 14 March – 12 April 2012 © ALAN WHEATLEY ART, 22 Mason’s Yard, Duke Street St. James’s, London SW1Y 6BU All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without first seeking the written permission of the copyright holders and of the publisher.

Artworks © Gary Wragg Photography © Paul Tucker Essay © Gary Wragg, Sam Cornish Catalogue design by Iwona Chroscielewska Print production by Oldacres, London


____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 22 Mason’s Yard T: +44 (0)20 7930 1262

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London SW1Y 6BU E: contact@alanwheatleyart.com

United Kingdom W: alanwheatleyart.com

GARY WRAGG: Spontaneity of Movements  

Exhibition catalogue

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