Max Wright – Artist

I am a Canadian artist, born in Mississauga, Ontario, in 1979. I lived in Montreal between 2006 and 2022 and have recently returned to live in Mississauga. I studied Fine Art at Queens University in Kingston, completing my BFA in 2002.

My works are a study in contrast and contradiction.  The works involve a process of glazing thin, translucent layers of oil paint over panel-mounted c-print (emulsion-based) photographs in strategic sections to isolate and reduce forms and minimize flattened detail.  Traditionally, oil painting glaze techniques are used to heighten form, to add detail and depth through colour to a monochromatic underpainting. I’m using this technique in deliberate contrast to its intended design.  In a similar fashion, my ‘underpainting’ isn’t a painting at all but a full-colour printed photograph.  The result of combining these two traditional elements in non-traditional, inverted manners is an object that is a hybrid photo painting, deliberately ambiguous, distorting the usual, expected relationship someone would expect to have with either a photograph or a painting.

Thematically I am interested in the impermanent physical nature of things. My choice of subject matter is spaces and objects that project subtle indicators of their temporal history. I am drawn to photograph architecture that almost always lacks any sort of impressive quality except the degree to which the buildings are worn; they are heavy, clunky blocks occupying a space in time, often abandoned, fixed in place but wearing down slowly. With objects, I am more deliberate; I often will create ‘still-life’ scenes out of materials that have been thoroughly used and are to be discarded after literal garbage.
Applying my process to these images transforms their appearance, often disguising their identity, stylizing them by cloaking them in a shiny coat of vibrant colour. The contrast is deliberate; underneath is old and ‘ugly,’ and the surface is new and ‘beautiful.’

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