Kathy Wright

Kathy Wright is an American born visual artist based in Sarasota, FL. With a Bachelors Degree in Architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology, she went on to obtain a Masters Degree in Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Before taking up painting full time, Wright worked for several world renowned architects including Zaha Hadid Architects in London and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects in Atlanta.

Kathy has received numerous awards for her work including an Individual Artist Grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation for her Everglades Series of paintings and a Knight Neighborhood Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight foundation for sculpture.

Among other honors, Wright has participated in the Art in Embassies Program of the United States Department of State, Sophia, Bulgaria and was Artist in Residence in Everglades National Park in 2008 and 2009. She is currently a member of the Petticoat Painters and is represented by Clayton Galleries in Tampa, Florida.

I am primarily a plein air painter. At least it is where I got my start and I still derive such inspiration from painting in the landscape. I love the challenges of plein air- the elements, the changing light conditions, the bugs… I love the intensity of the information present and the challenge of capturing its essence in a relatively brief period of time. I love light. I love the fantastic. I love the way colors meet. Yet I have also come to love the constant evaluation and adaptation integral to any intelligent art practice.

Beginning with a 2008 Artist Residency in Everglades National Park, my work has moved away from more pictorial depictions of the landscape and taken on a more abstract and expressive quality. In searching for a language closer to the essence of the park, the paintings tended towards a certain form of simplification. The vastness and scale of the Everglades also necessitated a move to studio work as the nature of the place forced a reevaluation of both process and format. Thus, my collaboration with the landscape has shifted as sketches and more raw work are still done in the field while larger works paintings have had to be done indoors.

The paintings focus on the phenomenological and experiential aspects of landscape/painting rooted in both lived experience of place and the imagination. Attention is paid to spatial types and what they might engender rather than to rational spatial concepts. Sensations are referenced, sensations brought about by both the smaller and the larger revelations, perceptions, oscillations, and then translated in a rigorous, yet, instinctive manner, formally responding to both experience and the act of mark making as each is considered. I open myself up to the practice, to a sense of space, to express visually moments of an enmeshed experience. In the end, the aim is a continued evolution of a visual language over time and through experience.

– Kathy Wright


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For the safety and well-being of our artists, community and collaborators, AIRIE has postponed all residency activity and programming in the Everglades. The AIRIE Nest Gallery inside the Ernest F. Coe Visitors Center is closed, as is the main entrance to Everglades National Park, until further notice.

The AIRIE Application for 2021 residencies has been postponed. The application window and new deadline will be announced shortly.

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