Writers on Wragg

‘At the end of the seventies, Wragg held his debut exhibition in London at the Acme Gallery and those of us who saw it will never forget the occasion. The show contained some large paintings which were more than worthy of the Tate Gallery or New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Among other collectors, Charles Saatchi bought one of the largest and finest paintings. The Gallery was filled with crowds of young people relishing the arrival of a highly personal visual language which added new and unexpected dimensions to abstract expressionism. Since then, Wragg’s paintings have moved on, evolving always through the artist’s expanding awareness of the physical world and his unerring truthfulness to more than one layer of experience. Maturity has not lessened that early raw but sophisticated impact which seems with time to be more concentrated than ever. Wragg at his best adds a peculiar richness and force to contemporary art; his work as a painter and his example for younger artists make a total nonsense of fashionable orthodoxy, whatever its guise.’
Bryan Robertson, catalogue introduction, Flowers Gallery, 1997

‘The intense colour is applied thinly, creating a deep, hazy space, which Wragg manages without allowing the paint ever to lose excitement or become sludgy. It stays luminous across a layered surface, and has a deft balance, both of mark and chroma. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, or as he makes it look. It’s difficult to use a wide palette and a variety of colour-weights successfully: no one could stumble into it by accident. This is a quite amazingly accomplished painting, and he’s clearly taken risks making it.’
Emma Biggs on Quiet Greys and Pink, Reds & Browns, 1999, in Modern Painters, 2000

‘Gary Wragg has his own adopted language of painting, practising and extending it daily, with even greater refinement and yet with no loss of energy. That in itself is no mean personal achievement. Painting cannot fail to continue, because it is arguably still the most natural mode of expression of all. Who can fail to deny the inevitability of drawing with colour onto large canvases? Wragg is a painter who in a relatively solitary and singular way in London is holding the fort for an activity that is as normal as singing and dancing. Painting as pure art will never stop.’
Norman Rosenthal, catalogue introduction, Flowers Gallery, 2000

‘I see in the constellations of Wragg’s paintings an immense generosity, a myriad of structures which other artists could actively and positively respond to and adopt. This type of visual dialogue seems vital for the future of an abstract painting with which it is worth engaging.’
Sam Cornish, catalogue introduction, Alan Wheatley Art, 2012