Jim Wright

Region: Northeast

My paintings tell American narratives through a unique style. Romantic notions of self-sustaining existences, deep in Appalachian fantasy worlds, become metaphors for recurring cycles of history. Works depict clans, uprisings, power struggles and ultimately the fleeting nature of stability and decadence. Demise is inescapable. Like a musician mining our cultural history and traditions to make something new, I combine folktales, American imagery and knowledge of music to invent a mechanical technique to tell these stories. Hundreds of individually templated, pre-fabricated brushstrokes are collaged together to mimic the way musical notes compose songs. Expression, (dis)harmony, rhythm and timing are all imparted through color and the often overlapping, disordered placement of these small paint shards. I am creating a strange new folklore functioning much like Greil Marcus's Old, Weird America where archetypal figures are derived from a vision of the early years of the republic, a time when life was a much more arduous struggle. Collective unconscious of our past enhances the present as I excavate nearly lost imagery, stories, sounds and language to imagine a world that once existed but is now largely confined to the dustbin of history. Memory and fantasy coexist as if in a dream.