Name: GD Wright
Primary Medium: Forged Steel, Blown Glass, Silver
Tell us about your recent exhibitions:
I was recently selected by Dimension Gallery as a fellowship artists for their 2019/2020 exhibition calendar and we just ended a group show on Nov. 11, titled “Season’s of Fruition”. It reflected on the dichotomy between things and projects coming ephemerally into fruition before disappearing or transforming. I also sent a couple sculptures with them to SOFA Chicago at the beginning of November. This was my first time being represented at this prestigious sculpture expo and I had a blast joining the gallery owners out there to see it firsthand.
What are currently working on?
I am a part of two events during the East Austin Studio Tour. Thirdspace Arts, a studio collective I am the co-director of, is having open studios both weekends of the event. We will be exhibiting the work of our current resident artists; Suzanne Wyss (co-director), Calder Kamin, Zach Bobkoff, Jana Swec, Jayden Ashworth, Heather Tye, Chelsea Quinlan, Jack Ferrara, Jeri Moore and myself. Third Space Arts is stop in the EAST catalog and is located in the old Bolm Studios building, definitely come by to check us out. We are a community of funky creatives, and A stop by our space will no doubt end with a good conversation and a tasty treat.
On the second Saturday of the EAST Event, I am curating a happening with Ian Seyer and Jonathan Paul Jackson titled “LONG LIVE BOLM!” #348 in the EAST Catalog. This event came to reality as a response to the assumption that Bolm studios was another east side art collective being shut down in the wake of new development. We want to let the community know we are very much still alive and thriving. We also believe it’s about time we all celebrated everything this studio block has done for artists and the arts here in Austin. We are creating this event in collaboration with the numerous other tenants and artists of the greater Bolm Studios complex and it will include pop-up galleries, artist talks, and an art panel discussion with some heavy hitters in town. Check out our facebook event, to join in on the fun. The adjacent studios will be open as well so come by and help us celebrate all Bolm Studios and its original founder Big Medium have done for the Arts in Austin. There will be refreshments, food, and an awesome tintype photo booth if you decide you want to capture the moment.
What draws you to your medium?
I’ve worked with many materials, but working with steel has been by favorite from the beginning, formally and conceptually. I weld interwoven frameworks to create a permanent and unchanging structure, something that once set into place will continue in that form indefinitely. Subsequently I blow glass into those frameworks to introduce a fluid formation and temporal element that is always in flux. I aim to create a heightened visual tension between these two physically disparate materials, highlighting the push and pull of containment/expansion, strength/fragility, and change/inertia. I love witnessing the gallery audience react to the work as it seems it elicit very different responses from people.
How long have you been an artist and how your practice changed over time?
I’ve been an artist since 2007, switching to full-time in 2012. During that primary period my work still had the steel frameworks, but the subsequent materials represented a much greater flux. Some of the materials I used included weather balloons, ice, and plaster to create the bulbous components. Generally these pieces were temporal, as they would shift throughout the length of the show. What was left behind was the steel framework and some remnant of its secondary material. For instance, a piece may be formed from dyed and frozen water, trapped within the cage network. As the fluid form melted, I would catch this state shift on a large canvas placed below. This interaction left behind a painting and the cage network that helped to produce it. When I became a faculty sculpture instructor in 2012 I was introduced to glass as a material to represent my shifting forms. The seeping, expanding interaction could now be frozen and that movement could now exist as a finished object… I was hooked. During that time I also began to learn about the design and production of monumental works. I spent the subsequent years, between 2012-2017, building a business around helping other artists produce large scale works by providing design consultation, structural design, and project management services. All of this was done with the greater goal of teaching myself everything that goes into producing monumental sculptures set to be displayed to the public. At this point in my career I am still producing the smaller, gallery works, but I am also on the hunt for making them bigger and bigger.
In your opinion, what does the Austin arts community need as the city continues to grow?
I think Austin needs more collectors.. we as artists need to get better at selling our art. My experience of successful art ecosystems not only involves the communities to produce art in and support from the local government, but also an associated intrinsic value for people to collect the works of local creatives. I think if we as a community continue to create social outreach programming that allow potential collectors to enter in to the artists world and catch a glimpse of what artlife creates for those involved, it will draw them into purchasing work.
GD Wright’s work is a reflection of how he interacts with the world; hopefully polarizing, hopefully inspiring, and obsessive compulsive in its attention to detail. Wright received his BFA in Sculpture from Indiana University in 2012. Subsequently moving to Oakland, CA. he dove headfirst into a rich and thriving art community he found there. During that time he honed his professional and creative skillset and showed with a handful of galleries and organizations, including; Slate Art, the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium, and the architecture firm Designing Justice Designing Spaces. Wright also founded an art production business that produced a multitude of monumental sculptural works, became a faculty sculpture instructor, and a father. As a result of the increasing tension in the art community being displaced by new development and his own need to create a more sustainable environment for himself and his son, he moved to Austin, TX a year ago. Seeing a balance in Austin’s unique mix of natural wonder and urban opportunity, as well as its thriving art community, he felt this city could provide a great fit for the long term vision he has for his work and life.