The Art Assassin 2

a nonfiction novel by Albert Wang, or a portrait of the artist as a young failure…

EXCLUSIVE ASSASSINATION: Andrew Wrigley, Artist Represented by Iao PROJECTS

leave a comment »

Photograph of Andrew Wrigley. Courtesy of Facebook.
Andrew Wrigley: I:5, 2008, graphite and acrylic on marble tablet, 12 by 8 inches. Courtesy of Andrew Wrigley and Iao PROJECTS.

Mister Andrew Wrigley was the first contemporary artist whom I had ever met in my life when I was living in Philadelphia nearly over a decade ago when I was over in the northeast hood on Brill Street and ate at a cheap Chinese buffet with my stepfather Powell and him. That was before I had gone to Yale University and I feel grateful to know a man who has chosen to walk his own path despite his difficulties with the gallery system trying to market his work in uncreative ways. His artwork has the illusion of seeming traditionalism but the radical approach is not technique but in the psychological insights he is bold enough to explore within subjects ranging from portraits on marble to architectural interiors of mystery to skulls and mortality.

With nearly impeccable technique in his expressionist paintings and highly detailed drawings, Wrigley is not scared to pursue exacting tour de forces within the sincere use of line and sculpting of volumes and shapes to put together metaphysical compositions. The artist searches for a philosophy within our daily, surreal existence as humans and uses our quirky perception to discover hidden worlds of delight and wonder underneath the mundane. This particular magic was what drew my eyes towards his strange and offbeat yet oddly familiar subject matter within his works. To be his close friend has been a most meaningful experience in the life of THE ART ASSASSIN.

If you have any questions about Wrigley’s artwork, feel free to contact his gallery Iao PROJECTS at (801) 336-0924 or at

So on to the show and here are THE ART ASSASSIN’s latest details of this “assassination”:

qi peng: What was your arts education at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and the University of Delaware like? Who were your most influential professors? Were there any students who influenced your work as well? What were your most memorable experiences?

Andrew Wrigley: There were a lot of serious, talented students who just wanted to paint, sculpt and draw. The place had energy, especially when the end of the year Annual Student Exhibition came around. I was given a level of freedom that probably does not exist anymore. I spent the majority of my time in the cast hall drawing classical sculptures and at home experimenting with different materials and techniques, like how to cook your own gesso and size, for my own work. I majored in Sculpture to avail myself of the time with the model and to learn how to make molds and cast plaster and bronze. University of Delaware also had a very free atmosphere that sought not to stifle the vision of each individual. At Pafa, my influential professors were Tony Visco, Alex Hromych, Mark Bockrath, Sidney Goodman, Deborah Deichler, Liz Osborne, Tony Rosati, Gary WeismanLouis Sloan, Seymour Remenick, Al Gury and Dan Miller. At Delaware, they were Dr. Hilton Brown, who taught an excellent materials and techniques class, Larry Holmes, Steve Tanis and Robert Straight.

qi peng: Do you consider yourself as a traditionalist working with an admixture of postmodern and Renaissance themes and subjects? You do a lot of life drawing from models for your recent series of graphite drawings (or paintings) on marble. In what ways is this a rather innovative approach to mark-making?

Andrew Wrigley: I do not consider myself anything, but it is true that I love the Old Masters. I love their work for the same reasons I love any artwork, for its strangeness and refinement of vision, for the exquisite mood it conveys. My background and training is to work from life, but now I also work from photographs, sketches, etchings and other paintings that I have seen.

Marble has unique handling qualities as a drawing surface that make it highly desirable. You just have to experience it.

qi peng: What would you consider to be your standard studio practice? Is there a precise methodology to the way that you work or is there a certain irregular rhythm that you try to achieve? How do you try to capture the psychology behind each character through the use of lighting, shading, and form?

Andrew Wrigley: The only methodology is no methodology. I have studied numerous different materials and techniques, I have taken courses taught by museum conservators and reconstructed Renaissance panel paintings and I have experimented on my own. Sometimes I am prolific, sometimes I don’t work for long stretches of time. It is unpredictable.

qi peng: How do you think that representation of the figure changed from the times of the Renaissance to modern times? What direction do you think that figure drawing and painting will move into during the future of contemporary art?

Andrew Wrigley: Photography has had the biggest influence in changing the vision of the individual. Photography made people believe in an objective reality. But now with all of our media choices, perception is twitchy and kaleidoscopic. A generation from now, we will have neural impulses directly stimulated in our brain, completely bypassing the eyes. I intend to just draw until further notice.

qi peng: What is your opinion on the gallery system and facing the challenges as an artist from an everyday stance? What aspects are most disillusioning or joyous about being part of the larger art world?

Andrew Wrigley: Just figuring out how to be happy and survive without selling your soul is one challenge. Another is avoiding the stubborn lure of habit. The art world can be mediocre and pathetic or it can be the most exciting thing in the world to any individual at any time.

qi peng: What are your hobbies that you enjoy best outside of the studio? Do you have any favorite music, books, movies, or cultural artifacts that you would like to recommend to your fans? Are there any memorable galleries or exhibitions that you have experienced recently?

Andrew Wrigley: I trail run regularly, I bike ride always. I love good food and I cook. I would advise anyone, artist or otherwise, to go to as many museums as possible, and not just art museums. Also see Natural History, science, industrial, anthropology and medical oddities. All these things stimulate the imagination. When the budget does not permit these things, take an interesting walk. If there is nowhere interesting to walk where you live, move the hell away from that place.

qi peng: Your works on marble have a remarkable sense of profound visual archaeology. In what ways do you try to immortalize the image instead of throwing away the image like the way that the current media does in its fast-track cuts and montages on television and in cinema? Do we have a lost sense of meditation and patience in today’s world?

Andrew Wrigley: They are my interpretations of various images that are dear to me. I made them because I coveted them. The marble weighs heavy in the hand and you feel the permanence of the stone, yet if you were to drop it, it would break. Yes, we probably have. We all should take periods of rest away from civilization in nature.

qi peng: How do your drawings on marble differ from the expressionist paintings on canvas which you have executed? Do they differ in intent, subject matter, and themes? How is this part of your artwork evolution?

Andrew Wrigley: It is such a misleading understatement to simply some up a working methodology as materials and techniques because certain types of image formation can only occur with specific methods. It transcends technique and becomes a way of visually thinking. Drawing on marble allows me to focus in on a perfected image, Oil allows me a liquid, spontaneous visceral mood.

qi peng: With your experience exhibiting in both Chelsea at major galleries and Philadelphia venues, what differences do you see between the art scene in New York City versus that of Philadelphia? What similarities do you see between the two places? With the recent changes in the economy, what direction do you think that art world is heading for?

Andrew Wrigley: Some of the people who exhibit in New York live in Philadelphia, so there is some overlap of recognizable names. The New York art world is obviously much bigger and more developed for the accomplished artist, but the Philadelphia art scene is filled with many working artists who have the free time and financial slack to really pursue the dream. Its hard to pay the rent in the big city.

qi peng: What are some of your future art projects that you hope to execute and complete in your studio? Are there any challenges that you are wanting to overcome?

Andrew Wrigley: Oh, who can say, who can say…I want everything

qi peng: Is there anything else that you wish to share with fans of your work and the readers here?

Andrew Wrigley: Get some charcoal or a pencil and try to make a drawing. Try to draw your room. Look at James Castle‘s drawings of where he lived and grew up, they are very humble and  beautiful.

For more gossip or dishing me the art scoop: E-mail me at

Written by qi peng

July 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: