Paul Wright

Thompson's Galleries presents a short film on the artist in conjunction with Wright's 2020 solo exhibition. Click here to view.

Artist Biography

Artist Paul Wright is a British painter, born in Leicester in 1973. Paul studied at Falmouth College of Art obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in 1995. Although Paul began a promising career as an illustrator, he soon moved on to concentrate on oil painting. Paul developed a unique style comprised of broad and expressive brushstrokes, while still making evident his superior draughtsmanship and colour sense. Breaking into the 2006 National Gallery BP Portrait award, Paul went on to produce sell out exhibitions for London galleries along with a growing waiting list for private commissions. Paul's style has become very recognisable due to his use of bold palette and active surfaces.

Artist Statement

''After training as an Illustrator, I have spent the last 15 years developing a painterly language through which I seek to capture a vitality beyond the establishment of a mere 'likeness' to the subject. Whilst I appreciate the importance of the individual being recognisable, the subjects are glimpsed rather than exposed, their inner selves hinted at but ultimately inscrutable".

Painting Style

Predominantly interested in the human head, Paul began doing portraits of colleagues and friends in a Howson-inspired style. Over the course of the next 15 years Paul worked to push his style into a less literal, more painterly realm with great results and reception. Paul's chief aim thus remains to explore new ways to describe his subjects, resulting in likeness and abstraction in equal measure.

"Though I often work on a large, potentially imposing scale, the work remains approachable through fluency of brush mark and a rich palette. The spaces the subjects inhabit are often indeterminate, providing an atmosphere that allows for ambiguity of psychological state. The subjects retain their integrity and yet a sense of intimacy is evoked".

Paul is popular today for his unique style, and has drawn comparisons across the years to greats like Freud, Auerbach and De Kooning. Paul's style indeed reflects the challenge he sets to capture the vitality of a subject rather than just a realistic interpretation. His works display a brilliant understanding of how pigments reflect light, and despite the bold contrast of strokes laid against one another, a clear image still rings through the harmoniously orchestrated palette.

Awards & Distinctions

Paul Wright is now a successful British artist with a recognised unique style which has earned him a place at the BP National Portrait Award on two occasions. Thompson's Gallery first encountered Paul at the National Gallery in the BP Portrait Award in 2006, and have been showing his works ever since.

Paul has received further awards from the National Gallery for the BP Award, with a second selection to the showcase in 2014, this time making the shortlist for grand prize. By this point the artist had also seen major success in solo exhibitions across the UK and gained greater exposure through multiple art fairs. Paul has since been published in two books including the most recent 2016 monograph titled 'Fifteen Years', an accompaniment to his solo exhibition of the same title at Thompson's Gallery.

Paul is currently working on a number of concurrent international exhibitions in Toronto, New York and London.

Our gallery published book 'Paul Wright - Fifteen Years' is now available to purchase at the National Portrait Gallery book shop, or on Amazon.