Exhibition

John Wragg RA

3 Jun 2016 – 25 Jun 2016

Axle Arts

Bath, United Kingdom

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Presenting Royal Academician John Wragg, including recent figurative paintings alongside the artist’s sculptural work, for which he has received world-wide critical acclaim.

About

Carefully calculated spatial frameworks display a strong use of line and geometrical form pronounced through a striking contrast of bold colour combinations. Large plains of bright oranges and reds are intersected with patches and sharp slithers of green, purple and sky blue. Foregrounds are often pinned with deeper tones and angular shadows. Wragg’s architecturally suggestive environments act as a stage set of sorts; in each of his works the viewer’s attention is drawn towards a single elegant figure, posing with an air of confidence and a quiet sense of self awareness. Wragg’s informed understanding of spatial description allows for images of great visual depth, with geometric patterning configured with pure balance and visual grace. In Summer Light, for example, a patchwork of line and colour seem to float as if suspended mid-air amongst fragmented forms suggestive of scattered light. Taking centre stage is a young woman with a gentle demeanour, poised on a chair with her hands resting on her chin as if waiting or just about to change her stance. She gazes straight into the viewer’s eyes and like most of Wragg’s work, is staged like a snap shot of information, each imbued with ambiguous narrative and a Surrealist, dream-like aura.

Shortly after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1960, Wragg was invited by Erica Brausen to show at the Hanover Gallery in London where he rubbed shoulders with some of the most influencial artists of the Modernist scene. He also taught at Chelsea School of Art (1961 - 1990) for almost thirty years after which he devoted himself to his practice full time.

Wragg won the Sainsbury Award in 1960, which introduced him to Sir Robert and Lisa Sainsbury with whom he became good friends. He later won first place in the Sainsbury Sculpture Competition (1966) and later the Arts Council Major Award (1977) followed by the Chantrey Bequest (1981). He was elected Royal Academician in 1991.

Wragg's work is part of the renowned Sainsbury private collection and is also included in a number of notable public collections including the Tate Gallery, the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Contemporary Arts Society and the National Gallery of modern Art, Edinburgh, amongst many others.

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