You Can Never Hold Back Spring IV
by Roy Wright
RA Summer Exhibition 2011
Wright’s work was in Gallery VII of the 2011 RA Summer Exhibition. Arranged by Olwyn Bowery, this room focuses on the more traditional themes of still life and landscape that, admittedly, can feel quite refreshing after the incredible range of subject and size that confronts us wandering through the other rooms. This is not to say that the work in this room is in any way boring but it is comforting, happily reassuring, to find artists still taking the natural world for itself and applying its glory to their canvases. You Can Never Hold Back Spring IV does just this; by not attempting to be overbearingly abstract, Wright allows his subject to speak for itself. His tree, with its wonderfully mottled and intricate bark, becomes an individual object plucked from the reality it stems from. This is not realism, but a highlighting of subject matter; the power of natural design and creation is spoken through the tree that Wright chooses to depict. This approach to composition is paired beautifully with Wright’s medium of charcoal, which articulates elegantly across the paper as a pencil sketching. Wright’s lines have that curiosity of the freehand drawer — investigative marks that seek to explore what they aim to depict. They worm through the claws and outstretched hands of branches, dancing delicately through the tufts of grass, pulling the blades, it seems, up from the earth. Such precision creates this energy of ‘not being able to hold back spring’, leaving the impact of Wright’s drawing imprinted on the memory along with our own images of the season.