'My work often stages a mutiny against its own material. Sometimes it does this by sulking: if a piece sulks, it has an uncomfortable power that affects anyone who orbits it.'
Daphne Wright (b. 1963, Co. Longford) makes multi-narrative sculptural installations using a variety of techniques and media, including fragile materials such as plaster, tinfoil, unfired clay, sound and video. She is curious about how a range of languages and materials can be used to probe often unspoken human preoccupations. Concerned with boundaries and the transitory areas of life, she explores the cusp of childhood and adulthood, as well as the spaces and borderlines between life and death. Animals and plants, with their shorter life cycles, often stand in for humans in her work.
Stallion (2009), one from a series of animals, is a sculpture cast in marble dust and resin that depicts a horse, partially flayed. Upturned and struggling, this animal yet retains its anatomical grandeur. Wright’s visual vocabulary is inspired by suburban life, literature, theatre and art history. Her work can develop from observing her own children or older people, exploring issues often ignored by contemporary artists, such as care, parenthood and ageing. Her most recent body of work is made in unfired clay, a material that attracts her because of its combination of anonymity and an intimacy of touch. By rendering a series of domestic objects in this material, including a fridge door and a buggy, Wright creates a dichotomy of familiarity and fragility, stripping them back to their essential forms. The warmth and subtle fragility of the objects bear witness to the important roles of repetition, ritual and care in daily life.