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Interview with Andrea V Wright by Hannah Hughes
©Copyright Patrick Morrissey and Clive Hancock All rights reserved.
Andrea V. Wright is a multi-
L: Maquette for future sculpture I & II(2020) Digital print, card,dimensions variable.
R: Maquette for future sculpture VIII (2020) Digital print, card 38 x 33 x 13 cm
HH: I thought that we could start in the present moment, given the highly unusual
nature of the past few months in the midst of the Covid-
AVW: I try not to overthink the Covid-
HH: I am fascinated by the shapes in your recent maquettes. These irregular shards, offcuts and bent and manipulated forms appear to be in a constant state of flux. Is the idea of transformation important in your work?
AVW: Absolutely, yes! Transformation is a key component in my thinking and practice whether it is through material (eg. liquid latex becomes solid or transmutes to assume the form of something else) or through methodology. In my recent maquettes, digital photographs of previous works and installations are cut up and combined and reformed. Working this way keeps me in the moment but evolving. It especially helped me keep working through lockdown when I couldn’t access my studio.
HH: In your latest maquettes I am drawn to the interplay between so-
AVW: The negative, or cut-
L: Super Flatland. Medium for Peace Cries (2020). Plywood, card, pine, PVA, paint. Photo courtesy Peter Stone
R: Stealth and Cunning (2020). Plywood, card, pine, PVA, paint. Photo courtesy Peter Stone
HH: Let’s talk about the new works for Super Flatland, an exhibition at White Conduit
Projects, curated by Paul Carey-
AVW: The works in Super Flatland are new but reflect on concepts within the book
that relate to elements and dichotomies from my own practice, such as fragility and
protection. The book/novella is presented as a satire of Victorian life sited in
an imaginary land called ‘Flatland’ where its citizens are cast within a hierarchy
I have configured structures that reference these characters, but theirs is a transformation into three dimensions that penetrate the hierarchy and breach the rules laid down by their society. Satirical authors such as Edwin A. Abbott (also think of Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels and almost any science fiction author) are “allowed” to say things in a “safe space," just as artists can say things implicitly through abstract reference.
HH: In Flatland, the narrator ‘A Square’ attempts to explain the mathematical possibility
of further dimensions beyond the limits of visual and spatial perception — similarly,
you have written in the past about your drawings being “freed from the frame” and
describing “not only the line but the spaces between the line, seeking out methods
of reflecting the ‘impossible plane’ using light, trace and spatial retraction.”
Can you tell me a bit more about your research into non-
HH: You have also mentioned an interest in the writing of Lefebvre -
AVW: There are places in which I work and places where I exhibit, but I find it difficult
to draw a distinction often straddles the two. That underpins a lot of what I create
and what I seek. That is how I interpret Lefebvre’s writing and why his words influences
my own thinking and experience. Lefebvre suggests in his book ‘The Production of
Space,' the trajectory of how we use and encounter space can be traced using "a myriad
of gestures, traces and marks”. For example where I work on site with steel, light
and tape in what could be referred to as ‘expanded drawing’ the component units of
the drawing incorporate fundamental aspects of both drawing and sculpture, simultaneously
inhabiting different worlds whilst belonging to both and neither. They produce a
“system” of navigation through a space that can be re-
Brink (2017). Steel, paint, tape, stone.
Communion (2019). Steel, tape, paint, rubber -
HH: You have described your work as being semi-
AVW: I would have to say that my interest in architecture stemmed from my father who is an architect. He was always keen to share his practice with me growing up. I recall him working at his drawing board taking in the lines and elevations. My encounter with a book on my father’s bookshelf as a child ignited my fascination with architectural Sculpture and was probably my first experience of conceptual art. The book Christo: The Running Fence was full of images of vast landscapes cut through by a rippling curtain of fabric, the light hitting the billowing wall, etching it with shadow. The need to feel and experience art in such a visceral way has guided my work ever since.
Balance and Obedience () MDF, steel, latex, paint, pigment, rubber. photo courtesy Rocio Chacon
HH: I am particularly interested in your use of latex to record traces of architectural
spaces, for example, works such as Laplace (2018) exhibited in the group exhibition
Prevent This Tragedy at Post_Institute, Von Goetz Art, which included a latex impression
peeled from the wall at the site of the exhibition that appeared to alter and extend
the physical space. This material excavation and its focus on the layering of human
history and time makes me think of Gaston Bachelard’s statement “Inhabited space
transcends geometrical space” -
AVW: Absence was my concern in this work or how to make visible what was potentially
absent. I wanted to articulate that space (an ex-
Laplace, 2018. Latex, neon light, steel, pigment, paint, tape and found object. Dimensions
variable. Photograph by Corey Bartle Sanderson -
HH: Precariousness and instability appear to be important material and structural factors in your sculptures — for example, the fragility of the latex in contrast to the wood and steel frameworks, and also the tension between balance and potential collapse in artworks that are draped, propped and stacked. Can you tell me a bit more about your choice of materials and processes and how you navigate the tension between the solid and the impermanent?
AVW: I think precariousness and instability reflects the world in which we live in
today and the world in which in which we have always lived. My ancestors made their
way from Ireland to Liverpool to make a better life for themselves and my father
took my family to live in South Africa when I was nine. Although I was just a child
I felt I had journeyed from one identity to another. A transition had to be made,
I had to try and fit in. I never did of course and dreamed of coming home, I existed
in limbo. We returned to the UK after three years. For all my parents’ well-
HH: What are you working on now in the studio? Are there any other future projects that you would like to share?
AVW: I’m working on some exciting new projects utilising my knowledge of using latex in my work, alongside new (to me) mediums of casting in plaster and jesmonite. During lockdown, my residency at PADA in Lisbon, supported by funding from an AN Bursary, was postponed. I am hoping to complete that residency in spring 2021 which is very exciting. Oh, and I’m potentially moving back to London where I grew up. Nothing is certain right now.
Andrea V Wright. Photo courtesy Pete Stone