Constant Within the Change: Gary Wragg – Five Decades of Paintings: A Comprehensive Catalogue || Sam Cornish

The bulk of this massive and indeed truly comprehensive two-volume work is the complete catalogue of all the abstract artist Gary Wragg’s work to date. With over 500 colour illustrations, all of them superbly reproduced, it certainly does its subject justice. Textual material is at a relative minimum but includes essays from Hilary Spurling, Terence Maloon, Matthew Collings, Sam Cornish, Stefanie Sachsenmaier and Wragg himself. These look at the use of colour, both as an influence on and within Wragg’s work and the nature of Abstract Impressionism. There is also an interview with Wragg that explores much of the philosophy behind his work and the state of mind that produces it. This section leads up to Wragg’s own description of the place of Tai Chi, of which he is one of the leading European experts, in his working practices.

A work as substantial as this does not come cheap, and is not within the reach of normal pockets. True aficionados will doubtless find the money from somewhere, but this is mainly a work for posterity and libraries. It’s important that it should be published, and history (and, to be fair, a lot of contemporary art students) will be grateful. Its main place, though, will be libraries and it is to be hoped that as many as possible have the budget for it so that Wragg’s work can be made available as generally as possible.

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