Article Title:Exhibition: The interesting Mr.Wrigley
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:23rd February 2005 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:626
Text:David Wrigley is an enigma. Given that most gay men try to desperately escape if they're born in provincial cities, why is this out gay artist an exception? Wrigley (44) runs a weekly Palmerston North Access Radio arts programme entilted "Out on the Street." So what is life like for him? Wrigley actually prefers the quietness of the Manawatu, as it enables him to get more work done. At present, Liechtenstein's pop art is a primary influence on most of his canvases. In his case, they consist of reappropriated imagery from old war comics, often to amusing effect. Despite the fact that Palmerston North houses Linton Army Camp, there has been no adverse military comment to the canvases, which have sold well. However, a related "found image" of two rugger buggers hasn't moved yet. At the same time, Wrigley paints larger canvases of film noirish femme fatales, usually with firearms within range. He credits Joan Armatrading, Grace Jones and Eartha Kitt as leading influences on this series of large canvases, which fetch hefty prices. (I should note that the army boy pictures are all good clean fun. There's no nudity in Wrigley's work, not even so much as a bare chest, writhing ab or pec.) Despite Palmerston North's reputation as an overly Christian city, Wrigley reckons that it's actually changing, although there are paradoxes involved. Palmerston North art galleries have been welcoming venues, but the local art market is somewhat conservative. In addition, Wrigley is bemused at the absence of more out gay artists. I noted Toss Woolaston might be an exception to this rule, but he does have a point. Where are our contemporary local Caravaggios, Cellinis, Michelangelos and da Vincis? Speaking of the rakish Caravaggio, a Renaissance badboy of note, Wrigley also feels that the contemporary New Zealand (and Palmerston North) gay community has become too suburbanised. Civil unions? What about more transgressive issues. Is the prominence of same-sex relationship and parenting equality issues a sign of greater social acceptance? If so, what have we sacrificed? Where are our Joe Ortons, Derek Jarmans, Caravaggios and Francis Bacons? At the same time, Palmerston North has offered this particular 'bad boy' more opportunities for exhibitions than Auckland, where he lived for almost twenty years. During this period, he only exhibited twice, but has done so three times after he returned home. As one can guess from the above description, David Wrigley is a butch fellow. He enjoys stirring things up in Palmerston North's relatively conservative art scene, although there are some faint notes of regret. He misses Auckland's ample supply of masculine gay men, and chides the local gay community for what he considers its dull, stuffy and queeny nature. This self-described "gay bloke" believes we should do more to emphasise our own distinctive models and values, akin to the Maori concept of tikanga. He doesn't believe that artists should form relationships with those who aren't similarly creative, and credits his own creativity and curmudgeonly nature to his Leonine star queen, which includes a desire to be the centre of attention. As with most Leos, David thinks that he is the centre of the universe, and wonders when the rest of the world will recognise that simple fact. Let's close with a quote from the lad himself: "Art is seventy percent motivation and thirty percent masturbation. It should incite inspiration and excite the imagination." David Wrigley's latest exhibition opens at Palmerston North's Square Edge arts and crafts centre (March 1-25). To view the canvases in question, contact the Exhibitions Manager at Square Edge, 25 The Square, Palmerston North: (06) 3532806. will present some visual highlights as soon as they become available to us. Craig Young - 23rd February 2005    
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