The artistic production and career of John Wragg RA has been long, diverse and prolific. Wragg is both a sculptor and a painter, but as Art on a Postcard was fortunate to receive a number stunning miniature paintings, it is the painterly style and approach of John Wragg that this blog post is concerned with. ‘What the painting must be in the end is alive.’ This aim is notably the force that drives Wragg on to achieve a ‘successful’ painting, embedded with his infinite fixation with the frailness and vulnerability of the human condition. Memory fuelled by imagination is also said by the artist to play a part in his work.
Wragg clearly demonstrates an understanding of spatial description, creating images with great visual depth. His use of geometric patterning is constructed with balance and refinement, resulting in visual harmony. His strong use of line and geometrical form are pronounced through a striking contrast of vibrant colour combinations. Large areas of bright orange and reds are intersected with patches and lines of green, purple and blue, or vice versa. A sense of disseminated light is often created through patchworks of colour and line suspended within the background. These vibrant geometric backgrounds create the sense of an architectural stage, drawing the viewer’s attention towards a single elegant figure in the foreground often depicted through darker tones and angular shadows. ‘Colour and space work on the atmosphere of the paintings, fixing nervous figures in time and space.’
The illustrated figures have a sense of self awareness about them, gazing straight at the viewer, in a sort of reactive invitation to contemplate their composition and narrative. Each figure is depicted with an air of confidence, and imbued with ambiguous narrative and a Surrealist, dreamlike aura. I for one feel mesmerised when looking at Wragg’s paintings, as a result of his harmonious combination of geometrical forms, bold colours, and elegant inviting figures, I find myself being absorbed into the paintings.
About the writer
Tara is an Art Foundation and History of Art graduate born and bred in London. She has travelled the globe extensively, immersing herself in the vibrant arts and cultures the world has to offer, and hopes her next adventure will take her to India! She is currently teaching English as a foreign language whilst enjoying volunteering at Art on a Postcard, and she hopes to break into the art world!