Max Wright is a Canadian artist, born in Mississauga, Ontario, in 1979, currently based in Montreal. He studied Fine Art at Queens University in Kingston, completing my BFA in 2002. He has developed and pursued his artistic practice professionally since then, producing and exhibiting work regularly.
My mixed media 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 to minimize detail and shape. Traditionally, oil painting glaze techniques are used to heighten form, to add detail and shape through colour to a monochromatic underpainting.. So what I'm doing is actually using the technique to accomplish the opposite effect of its intended design. Likewise, 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 neither a photograph, nor a painting, but a hybrid of the two, deliberately ambiguous, distorting the usual relationship someone would expect to have with either a photograph or a painting.
So... why do this?
My interest lies in the impermanent physical nature of things. In my choice of subject matter I am attracted to 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 that 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 delibarate; I often will create 'still-life' scenes out of materials that have been thoroughly used and are to be discarded after, literal garbage.
The application of my process to these images transforms their appearance, often disguising their identity, stylizing them by giving them a shiny coat of vibrant colour. The contrast is deliberate; underneath is old and 'ugly', the surface is new and 'beautiful'. It's as though I'm making something new.. but it's all illusion, just different materials, different treatment. The artwork is a physical thing, as much as the images depicted photographically; my work is an exploration of this theme.