Jimmy Wright was born in St. Louis, Missouri. When he started at Berkeley in 1959, he wasn’t sure if he was going to major in decorative art or nuclear physics. Following a Masters Degree in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, he
spent 7 years in the San Francisco business community.
Jimmy Wright headed north to British Columbia in 1971 and started chasing steelhead trout and taking photographs. He stayed alive with a camera for fifteen years and started painting
seriously around 1990.
Jimmy Wright has worked hard to evolve that artistic inspiration since that time. In the first year his salmon photos, laminated onto large boxes of yellow cedar, won the People's Choice Award at the Sooke Fine Arts show.
Then, slowly, he edged into a career as a painter. The walls in Jimmy's huge skylit studio are hung with large canvases restrained in colour and rich with texture. At a glance you can't help but notice his admiration for the colour fields of Mark Rothko,
the inscriptions of Cy Twombly, the abstract-becoming-landscape motifs of Otto Rogers, and overriding this minimalism is a jolt of imagery which hooks you and draws you in--dogs, buffalo, polar bears looking out over the lonely terrain.
Wright figured people needed a representational image to help them begin their appreciation of his canvases. With the image in place, Wright is freed up to work on "a big hunk of space". At play in his fields of colour he can "scratch them, throw things
into them," and intuitively work on his real love--texture. To further help those with literal instincts, he garnishes his paintings with a calligraphy of mathematical equations, quotes from T.S. Eliot, recycled graffiti and scientific diagrams. The
viewer is drawn in by the eyes or the stance of the figure as well as by the surface textures and markings.
"My style is loose, sort of half way between Robert Bateman and a caveman."