© Daphne Wright

Daphne Wright

In this exhibition of new work Daphne Wright examines the complexities and contradictions that exist in the world of "industrial" animal husbandry. Using sculpture, video and photography, Wright composes images of cattle that are at once sensitive and brutal.

A series of intaglio prints depict the heads and eyes of the domestic bulls, which are kept on farms for reproduction purposes. Wright is fascinated by the status of these creatures; usually only one such bull is kept and it is favoured above all other cattle, washed powdered and displayed at country shows it is often given a bizarre "pet" name. The portraits of the bulls capture the underlying menace of these pampered creatures, which are fundamentally unpredictable and uncontrollable.

Wright has cast the massive head and neck of a slaughtered bull in white porcelain. The object lies on the gallery floor and is suggestive of an oversized ornament. This piece amply conveys the sheer size and muscular power of the animal, it is awe-inspiring, disturbing and subtly invested with forms of ancient mythical symbolism.

A short video shows only the legs and hooves of a herd of cattle in the milking parlour. Mired in wet mud, they are reminiscent of troops trudging through hostile territory. The image vividly portrays something of the seemingly coarse and mechanical world of modern farming.

The final work in the exhibition is another porcelain cast, this time of a stillborn calf. The small sculpture has a certain poignancy and is in part a comment on our often heavily romanticised understanding of farming life. Like the other works in the exhibition it encompasses some of the harsh and necessarily less emotional daily reality of farming life.

Daphne Wright was born in Ireland in 1963 and trained in Ireland and in Britain. In 1993-94 she held a Henry Moore Fellowship at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has had several solo exhibitions including the Cornerhouse, Manchester (1994), Spacex Gallery, Exeter and Aspex, Portsmouth (1998), Nonsense and Death, Sligo Art Gallery, Ireland (2001), These Talking Walls, The New Art Centre Sculpture Park and Gallery, Roche Court (2001), Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2002) and Shine, The Lowry Centre, Salford Quays (2002).

Wright's work was included in 0044 at PS1, New York and Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork (1999), From a Distance: Approaching Landscape, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2000) and Locws2 Swansea, curated by Tim Davies and David Hastie. She has recently completed a commissioned sculpture for the Civic Centre, Ballymun, Dublin and is working on a public art work for The Gorbals in Glasgow, in co-operation with architect Piers Gough.

14 November 2003 - 10 January 2004
Hours: Tue-Fri 10 am - 6 pm, Sat 11am - 4 pm

Frith Street Gallery
59-60 Frith Street
GB-London W1D 3JJ
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