Paul Wrigley

Art Life , Exhibitions Mar 23, 2015 No Comments

From Andrew Frost

And what might we say of Paul Wrigley‘s paintings? The maker of handsomely scaled airbrushed canvases, the artist’s abiding fascination has been with the detritus of pop culture imagery, from cheerleaders and the pyramids to the faces of famous actors, infamous writers and brilliant scientists. In the wash up of contemporary image culture every image becomes equivalent in value, no more or less revelatory than anything else. For his latest show at Flinders Street, Wrigley presents five mushroom clouds, that roiling column of flame, smoke and shock wave that serves as an icon of the atomic age and the hidden possibility that those rehearsals of the 50s and 60s may yet one day happen for real. In Wrigley’s hands the clouds are not only spectral in their meaning, but also a tentative coherence in the way the image has been formed by paint delivered as a forced mist to the canvas’s surface resulting in a picture that’s there but also seems to be disappearing.


Alongside the clouds we find an array of faces – the defocused gorgeousity of a couple of generic cheerleaders, the craggy face of William S. Burroughs and the rather extraordinary visage of Carl Sagan, all ’70s swept hair, a cheesy smile and professorial corduroy. A nondescript suburban house, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Falling Waters and the pyramids form a trio of images of the place of dead memories, the dreams and hopes of unknown people rendered flat and ghosted in monochrome or faded colour. What are we to make of this collection images? As Burroughs once put it “…nothing here now but the recordings.”

Until April 11
Flinders Street Gallery, Surry Hills
Pic: Paul Wrigley, Untitled, 2015. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 211×150 cms.

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Andrew Frost

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