Antonia Wright Leaves Spinello Buzzing
Antonia Wright shows no fear when it comes to her art. In videos on display in her new show at Spinello Projects, "You Make Me Sick: I Love You," she practices tai chi while covered in a swarm of 15,000 honey bees, smashes through panes of glass in the nude and utters desperate screams underwater.
Photo by Rudy Duboue Antonia Wright.
"When I make work," she says, "I just jump and don't know where I'll fall."
Her sprawling exhibit, which runs through May 3, marks Spinello's most ambitious gallery exhibit to date and features a notable bounty of video, photography, and sculpture. The first full-scale survey of Wright's work created in the past decade not only encompasses both floors of the capacious Spinello space but also spills over into the neighboring Butter Gallery and Projectraum.
Her work explores the vulnerabilities of the human condition and provokes thoughtful introspection. "Ms. Wright's recurring interest in using her own body as her principal tool enables her to undermine the boundaries of gender politics," curatorial adviser Tami Katz-Freiman observes. "She challenges social conventions via an extreme physical or emotional action and to test the endurance of her viewers."
The 34-year-old Wright was born in Coral Gables and raised in South Miami in a distinctly creative environment. Her mother, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, is a successful novelist and mystery writer, and her father, John Parke Wright, is a businessman with a penchant for painting.
At a young age, Wright displayed a talent for poetry. By age 12, she had become fascinated with reading her work in public. After attending grade school and middle school in South Florida, she went to high school in Boston. She then moved west and graduated with a bachelor's degree in creative writing from the University of Montana. Next came an MFA in poetry from the New School in New York City and study at the International Center of Photography. In 2008, she returned to Miami, where she began combining the written and the provocative.
By the time Wright arrived back home, America was mired in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She says the lengthy conflicts inspired her. "What happened in Iraq really affected me, and look at what's occurring in Syria and the Ukraine now," the tall brunette reflects. "Just because people become scared by aggression doesn't mean they have to attack."