'Extraction 1', Vicky Wright

The back panel of a painters canvas daubed with black, white and pink paint

Oil, blackboard paint, plastic tape on panel, 46.7 x 35.7 cm, 2007

Artist's statement

Extraction 1 forms part of a series of reversed canvases that propose a hidden story, not confined to our past colonial abuses, but to an equally stark future in which Western interests operate covertly to maintain control of vast mineral wealth, obscured by almost complete silence. Portraiture of the 18th century is seen by many as a golden period within British art; but without the capitalist patrons, arguably such works would not have existed.
The human cost of this art seems not to be part of our consciousness. Like an unspeakable truth, or a disgraced family member.

When the Marquis de Sade refers to 'extraction' he does so in terms of 'pimps', or 'libertines', amoral men who "extract their rents at the price of unbearable miseries." These libertines would display their wealth unashamedly, as a symbol of wealth and
perceived superiority. Such vivid depictions of carnal exploitation are examples, to some, of de Sade's amorality, but equally we could see them as a metaphor for that which is concealed within the heart of the mercantile body. Like de Sade's pimps, a portrait may act as a symbol, but its purpose is to act as a mask to obscure the true character of the mercantile body.


Vicky Wright was born in Bolton in 1967. She studied textiles at John Moores University Liverpool 1988-91 and the RCA London 1991-93, and fine art at Goldsmiths College London 2006-08.
Group shows include 'Temporary Accommodation' Whitechapel Art Gallery London 2001, 'Daniel Spoerri's Eat Art' Aktionsforum Munich 2001, 'The Full English' MOT London 2003, 'Snip Decisions' Chisenhale Gallery London 2003, 'Ein Grosser Scwhartzer' Alfred Camp London 2007, 'Salon Nouveau' Engholm Engelhorn Galerie Vienna 2007, 'Jerwood Painting Prize' 2007 Jerwood Space London, 'Latitude' NYCAMS Gallery New York 2008. Solo shows include 'Pineal Pastures' IBID Projects Vilnius Lithuania 2004.

Goldsmiths website featuring Vicky Wright