Daphne Wright’s work manoeuvres things into well-wrought but delicate doubt. Shifting between tautness and mess, it sets imagery, materials and language in constant metaphorical motion.
A quiet mutiny – persists follows on from the artist’s recent exhibition A quiet mutiny at Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. This assemblage of objects, videos, and works on paper addresses the poignancy as well as the mundanity of everyday domestic life. Wright has created scenes that are imbued with melancholic familiarity; recreating in dried but unfired clay objects including a child’s pushchair, houseplants and a fridge. The artist has chosen these things because of their momentary quality; they are only fleetingly valued in our daily lives. Wright is a careful and scrupulous observer and at first glance, all is usually calm and peaceful, but here the innocuousness of the utterly familiar takes on a strange and subtle sense of the ineffable.
The exhibition also contains two new video works. Song of Songs investigates the relationships adults have with more vulnerable family members. Is everyone ok? features an older man seemingly in poor health with his face painted like a lion and bearing the mental scars of a career spent in middle management. He repeats team-building clichés, interspersing these with personal responses to queries about his wife’s health. The effect is unsettling as he resides at the interface between work and retirement, usefulness and redundancy.
Daphne Wright’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including: Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; Davies Museum, Wellesley College, Massachusetts; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin; Arnolfini, Bristol & National Trust, Tyntesfield; New Art Centre Sculpture Park and Gallery, Roche Court, Wiltshire. Important group exhibitions include: Infinite Sculpture, Musée des Beaux Arts ENSBA, Paris traveling to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; Presence: The Art of Portrait, The Holburne Museum, Bath; Garden of Reason, Ham House, Richmond upon Thames. In 2018 Wright curated the exhibition The Ethics of Scrutiny at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.