Maura Wright, based in Helena, MT, received a Master of Fine Arts from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2018 and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2013. Residencies include: the International Ceramic Research Center in Skaelskor, Denmark; the International Ceramic Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary; Red Star Studios in Kansas City, MO; The Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT; and Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, MT.
Maura Wright weds high art to low until we can’t tell the difference, until we feel ourselves acknowledging the staginess of all art, of all life. The decorative is primarily dissected. The historically porcelain is purposefully re-crafted in terracotta, grown more expressive in affect, bulged or distorted. The joy is in being the prop master, the art director pulling from the grab bag of historical precedents. Glazed vases and vessels feel pried from still life. Handles of urns become two dimensional, black and white striped patterns evoke the drafting board or armature. A stray sculptural hand or leg might be lounging about. It’s like there is no fidelity between two and three dimensional worlds. The pastiche considers the current conversation between craft and high art--the former all about repetition/perfection, the latter about the medium of clay as expressive material. Backdrops sometimes resemble heraldic banners, pole banners, or wallpaper patched together from colorful paper cutouts of domestic interiors raucously shuffled about. The pleasure of the work comes from deft and shifting angles between the tradition of the past and the impropriety and insouciance of the present moment, from questioning the real and the imitation.