Rick Wright is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a B.F.A in Design/Illustration and an M.A. in art education. He lives in midtown Kansas City, Missouri with his wife and young daughter. He routinely exhibits work in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area and travels regionally to art festivals in Minneapolis, Denver, Dallas, St Louis, Chicago, Memphis, and Des Moines. In addition to his personal work, he has been an art educator in both private and public schools and currently teaches art at Van-Go Inc., an arts based non-profit job training program in Lawrence, KS.
The human form has been integral to much of my personal work. Though semi-abstract and expressionistic, I value the essence of the figure over likeness of an individual. As an artist, painting the figure is a continual challenge. I'm intrigued by the nuances of the human form and enjoy both the struggle and the fluidity that exists within a successful composition. I seek a balance between the raw, gestural nature of a sketch and the refinement one expects of the human form. As a viewer, one can more readily experience psychological connections with human forms than with other subjects. In some instances the viewer confronts the painting, while in others he/she remains a voyeur.
Viragoes are historically female warriors of both physical strength and mental fortitude. The performers that have become the inspiration for my most recent body of work include dancers, contortionists, aerialists, and acrobats that exude similar athleticism and determination. These heroines combine an exciting blend of physicality, grace, and movement that I seek to translate into my work. Within each piece, I challenge myself with color relationships and mark-making to build, define, and refine each painting without losing a sense of liveliness and energy, thus balancing the raw energy of a gestural sketch with the sophistication one expects of a resolved painting.
My work is composed primarily of acrylic paints through an aggressive use of brushwork, mark-making, and color exploration to capture the essence of a pose. I seek to maintain a rawness and energy in the completed image, but with a believability of form. The majority of my work is rooted in direct observation of a model. Burlesque performers, dancers, and acrobats are of particular interest to my current body of work. I typically create a number of charcoal sketches and then utilize them in the studio as reference for larger paintings where my own direction and color sensibilities develop independently from the model.