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Andrew Woolbright

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UNTITLED MIAMI BEACH
NOVEMBER 29th-DECEMBER 4TH, 2021

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Andrew Woolbright, My mind can only dream of Mortal Kombat, 42 x 62 inches, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2021

Andrew Paul Woolbright (American, b. 1986) is an artist, curator, and critic living in Brooklyn, NY. Woolbright is an MFA graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design and is currently a resident at the Sharpe Walentas Studio Program. He has recently exhibited with The Hole, New York (2021); Galerie Valeria Cetraro, Paris (2021); Zurcher Gallery, New York (2020); and Ada Gallery, Richmond (2020); and will be exhibiting with Vacancy Gallery in Shanghai in early 2022. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, TimeOut New York, ArtViewer, Two Coats of Paint, the Boston Globe, and the Chicago Reader, and his work is currently in the collection of the RISD Museum. He is a critic and contributing writer for The Brooklyn Rail and currently teaches at The School of Visual Arts in New York.


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Andrew Woolbright, Haruspex of the Digital Sublime (The Sandcastle Shrinebeast), 78 x 62 inches, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2021

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Andrew Woolbright, That Day You Told Me I Was Like a Sandcastle Was the Best Day, 42 x 62 inches, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2021

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Andrew Woolbright, The enigmatic Shrinebeast, the shrinezone waifu, guards the zerotime portal with her hurdy gurdy, 2020, Oil and acrylic on canvas. 46 x 62 inches



The figures in Woolbright’s paintings are Shrinebeasts, an aspirational and speculative evolutionary condition of humans based on love and kinship. They are all entangled in a physical body together– a marbled, Kafka figuration of desire, love, and heartbreak. These weird figurations are the manifested, absurd, and beautiful uncertainty of lovers; complete with all of their inconveniences. They are borderless, open-systems of limbs and organs; able to shift and drift between pathos and bathos, the utopic and the ridiculous.

This series of paintings are proposals for a non-playable video game as a way of haruspexing the digital sublime. They are paintings that mimic image stills from a non-existent, virtual experience; one that non-hierarchically conflates the artist’s personal experiences, art history, fantasy, and scrolling as a screen-time inspired mythology. Woolbright draws on the addictive colors of downloadable fantasy games, shifting the visuality of traditional CMYK painting towards a color palette that mimics the addictive RGB color system of screens and virtual spaces through airbrush and synthetically developed inks. For this latest body of work, Woolbright is thinking through bodies as either sandcastles or fight screens. He says:

to Haruspex the digital sublime

The future will show us strange, marbled-together bodies killing each other in ritual ceremonial acts; and we will find the ritualized fighting of these unrecognizable figurations to be beautiful, unfamiliar, and terrifying. Both thrilling and awful, we will be unable to remember anything we see. Untergang is a German word that means a beautiful end; an explosion that makes an impermanent gesture of disappearance forever permanent in our mind. Death like a firework.

Aristotle said color is a drug. Derrida said it is a poison. Virtual space has made it both– an addictive, enthralling poison of a Baroque that we feel receding away from us IRL, or world 1, and escaping ever more into the downloadable infinite respawn points and uploads of virtual space, or world 2.

To neuromance this digital dread, this marbling circulation of images and data that is sublimely attuned to our ever carved-out desire, I can position and record my own body’s understanding of the digital sublime through sand castles and fight screens– sand castles as a Romantic capture of what slips away, fight screens as an accelerationist gesture to match a virtual speed that is too much to process. Painting can still record heartbreak and gesture within our bodies, acting as encryption; but also it importantly preserves the when of each painting, attaching moments in time to the swirling affect of the digital sublime, arresting and encasing them in polymers, emulsions, pigments, and earth.

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Andrew Woolbright, Keep On Keepin' On, 2020, Oil and acrylic on canvas. 46 x 62 inches


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Andrew Woolbright, Stumble Bumble Full Sicko Stompbeast (Blake and Berger are raging inside of me), 2020, Oil and acrylic on canvas. 46 x 62 inches

current gallery hours : thursday, friday and saturday : 1 to 4pm
(or email for appointment)

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ada gallery 228 west broad street, richmond, virginia 23220
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