Weekly Update – Wright and Wallacavage at Spector

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Psychedelic pattern painting by Andrew Jeffrey Wright. Click image to see it bigger.

This week’s Weekly has my review of Andrew Jeffrey Wright and Adam Wallacavage’s exhibits at Spector Gallery. Here’s the link to the art page and below is the copy with a few more pictures. As usual, see my flickr set for more images.


The Wright Stuff
Spector Gallery presents one of the sassiest shows of the year.

Andrew Jeffrey Wright’s second solo exhibit at Spector Gallery, “Art World,” is one of the smartest and sassiest shows of the year. All Wright’s familiar motifs are present-irreverence, humor, collaboration (here, with 10 other artists). Wright is all about people and contemporary culture. His works are critiques that go down easy, their knifelike humor skewering the pompous yet leaving it recognizable to be contemplated at its worst and best.

Example of a wall drawing. The show is full of quips and sketches on the walls.

With 60 paintings, drawings and collages (plus T-shirts, buttons and a zine) ranging in price from $2 to $10,000 (for a collaborative installation with Barry McGee), the show’s a generous, community-spirited affair. Works hang in crowded groupings that feel like buddies huddled together at a high school cafeteria table. Lovable by the dozen, the paintings, prints and drawings stand alone, each one a complete thought executed with graphic punch and finesse.

Wright and Barry McGee’s collaborative installation Jim Drain, with Furby the secret tagger in the trash can.

The “Jim Drain” collaboration with McGee is a great 3-D cartoon. The piece uses the artist’s Furby collection, seen in his last Spector solo. Here the Furbys are piled in an open metal trash can like throwaways. A cutout in the can’s bottom shows a miniature bathroom in which a lone Furby stares open-eyed in the mirror as he tags the wall. The 3-D cartoon marries McGee’s roots as a graffiti artist with Wright’s sense of the absurd.

Fabric collage drawing. “A swatch of houndstooth drinking with a drawing”

Wright’s aesthetic is so multifaceted, there’s something for everyone. Some will like his cartoons featuring skulls, masks, animals and aliens. Others will love the works with snarky phrases like, “I’m sorry I just can’t listen to any more Kate Bush right now.” Many will fall for the abstract pattern paintings and prints. And be assured that while the aesthetic is alt-culture, the work is consummately professional. The paintings are crisp beauties, the prints are finely registered, and the drawings and collages are sophisticated and done well.

Wright’s works get more certain of themselves each year. That may be ironic for someone whose work is borderline scatological and always youthful. Statements like, “And on that day Rainbow Brite became a woman” make Wright, 36, a contemporary Dada practitioner to contend with.

Installation shot of the crowded-together drawings, prints and paintings.

One of the founders of Space 1026, Wright is a Philadelphia imagist. With fellow Space 1026ers Ben Woodward and Thom Lessner, the three constitute a brotherhood of sorts that’s not so far in subject matter and human-centric focus from that of Chicagoans Roger Brown, Jim Nutt, Ray Yoshida and Ed Paschke.

Photo by Adam Wallacavage of Andrew Jeffrey Wright, from a sequence of images that show Wright half shaved and half hairy.

Photographer Adam Wallacavage, also a Space 1026er and a longtime collaborator with Wright, is showing documentary photographs in Spector’s rear gallery. Wallacavage is a scene photographer and, whether staged or on the fly, his photographs have an inviting intimacy. A book of small photos shows the 15-year collaboration between the photographer and Wright, who’s seen posing in setups that are wonderful fashion magazine parodies.

Andrew Jeffrey Wright: “Art World”
Through May 20. With Adam Wallacavage. Spector Gallery,
510 Bainbridge St. 215.238.0840.