Richard Wright's intricate, mesmerising, wonderfully delicate and monumental at once, Stairwell Project in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (in Modern Two, which used to be an orphanage, the Dean Orphan Hospital), for example. The work was commissioned several years ago with the intention that it be a permanent rather than temporary feature of the gallery, although Wright, who usually paints on walls rather than canvases, also usually has those walls painted over at the end of an exhibition.
In the gallery's leaflet on The Stairwell Project, Chief Curator Keith Hartley observes that we "tend to forget" that, within the tradition of western art, decorative painting of walls and ceilings was a common practice. He traces the development from an expectation that art be utilitarian, to the patronage of artists by aristocracy which began in the Renaissance, and then to the changing expectation which led to an individual artist dependent on the market.
The role of the marketplace, Hartley argues, had by the 1980s led to "almost a feeding frenzy for expressive, largely figurative painting," and this "climate of greed" alienated Wright. As Hartley quotes the artist, from a 2000 interview: "About ten years ago I began working in what for me was a new way. This seemed to have something to do with the action of painting and turned out to mean working directly on the wall, which in turn implied thinking about context and architecture as part of the content of the work."
a paddle in my new kayak this morning, so instead I'm going to suggest you watch this fascinating video in which Wright speaks directly about the conception and execution of the work, pointing out that the whole thing is made of two small pots of paint. . .
The video's only four minutes long, and besides telling you more about how and why The Stairwell Project was made, it gives you a much better sense of its scale and light and beauty than my photos can do.
And speaking of light and beauty. . . a sunny day in Vancouver, and we're teased with the possibility of a High in the mid-teens (Celsius) today. Time for me to get out on the water.
Your turn to chat now -- comments very welcome (and I do apologise for the difficulties you're having in posting. Some readers have suggested that using Chrome as your browser makes a difference; some find it possible to post from a laptop rather than their phone).