On Tuesday 21 November we welcomed visitors to celebrate the opening of our new special exhibition, Austin Wright: Emerging Forms. Guests were treated to some personal insights into the artist and his life by his son, Crispin Wright, and an opportunity to explore the incredible works on display.

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The evening opened with a private viewing for FUAM members who listened to curator Layla Bloom talk about the artworks on display. We then welcomed visitors to the public launch with an introduction from Stella Butler, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, and some words from Crispin Wright which delighted the audience .

Austin Wright was a Gregory Fellow at the University of Leeds from 1961-1964. The exhibition explores the development of his practice and his reputation in the art world between 1955-75. Wright began practicing as an artist quite late in his life after being bluntly told by Henry Moore to ‘just get on with it’.

Through his drawings and sculptures, visitors can see how Wright’s work developed. In the 1950s he focused on dynamic human figures and in the 1960s, during the Gregory Fellowship, he shifted towards more abstract forms. Following his service in the Second World War he moved to Yorkshire where he drew inspiration from his surroundings and the landscape. The exhibition thus focuses on Wright’s time in Yorkshire as a key period in his career.

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The exhibition displays drawings, maquettes and sculptures made by Wright, many of which have been generously loaned by his family. The distinctive aluminium sculptures hanging in the Gallery were intended to hang within the landscapes which inspired their creation. We imagine this would been quite a spectacular sight! Our guests were particularly taken by these works.

Following such a wonderful launch evening, which was marked by enthusiastic responses and discussion, we invite you to come along and explore this archive of Austin Wright’s work. This exhibition will be on display in The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery until 17 March 2018.