The girl looks up at the tree, to the bird that sits amongst its branches. Although they occupy the same world they seem separated by space and species. But then the bird sings, and a vibration starting within its chest and passing along invisible sound waves across the gap, pierces the girl to set off a corresponding vibration within her own body. A connection is made, the gap is bridged, and in a moment of wonder the girl experiences a sense of reverie; a feeling of at-oneness with the whole world as its solid boundaries fall away. A band of vivid orange light opens up before her, piercing the fabric of a monochrome reality and offering a glimpse through to something other. It unites both girl and bird, bathing them in the warmth of its golden glow, a light that is both natural and super-natural.
It is these moments of reverie and wonder, when we are confronted by small incidents of beauty within the world, an unexpected bird, the play of light through branches, or their reflection on water, which form the focus of Lisa Wright's paintings and drawings. Through vibrant blocks of colour and the deft calligraphy of her dancing lines she draws these fleeting insubstantial sensations into the visible world, clothing them in human form even though they bring about the dissolution of its solid borders. In these moments the world opens up into an interconnected space, and we experience the knowledge that our body's boundaries are porous membranes that allow for the constant flow and exchange of particles of matter and light. But how can this borderless body be represented? Wright's figures seem to offer the opposite state of being, figures bounded by thick outlines that seem to keep the world out. But these outlines are too thick and too bold. Rather than defining the edge of the body they seem to obliterate it, erasing it with an indeterminate space that suggests the liminal, porous threshold that exists between the tightly packed atomic density of the body and the more widely spaced structure of the air that enfolds us.
Her paintings capture the experience of living in this liquid world. Her figures rarely have mouths, for as the solid world falls away, words, which so often divide and separate, fail. We are left childlike, seeing the world afresh rather than with the world weary eyes of adulthood. And like the new born infant, our senses are heightened as we revel in this world without boundaries. Colours become more vivid, forms more dynamic, sounds sharper, and the smallest thing becomes a moment of revelation and amazement.
Each of these works is a distinct entity, an object complete in its own right. But just as their subject matter is the breaking down of the world's boundaries, so each individual painting and drawing forms part of an interconnected whole; revealing, celebrating, and investigating a different aspect of this experience to create a storyboard of wonder. They give visual form to those moments when we seem to melt into the world, completely absorbed into its liquid embrace; the times when our senses are heightened and we seem to see with our whole bodies, and the occasions of intimacy when we sit with the one we love, wordless and in complete oneness.
These paintings and drawings do not merely illustrate these experiences. Instead they allow these usually subjective interior sensations, which have been provoked by intangible realities to be dragged into the visibility and substance of this world, there to be recognized and shared. For like the song of the bird, Wright's colours cross the space that divides on waves of invisible light, piercing the solidity of our own being to set up a sympathetic vibration in us as they give visual form to our own moments of reverie and wonder.
Richard Davey. 2011