Zoë Wright

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What is my artwork about?

I make paintings, containers. They are about the way they are packed—often very tightly—and about the figure who packs them—hidden and out of view. I make boundaries in the shape of books, and lay them side by side. The space is shallow, as thick as the books themselves, knowing only close up and far away. I am looking for a middle ground. The book cover and spine are formal elements and instances of presence. Within the edges of the rectangle, I shift the boundaries over, from here to there, or dissolve them. This process is a cycle. A jerky, natural flow ensues. I am making a personalized bridge, navigating a visual path that impacts the body by accident.

Artist Statement


My mother is a freelancer. She proofreads and edits nonfiction—books and periodicals—making sentences better. From this standpoint, she is attached to the structure of sentences more than the ideas they stand for. In 1977, four years before I was born, she gave up her scholarship to graduate school after naming her unwritten thesis, Dickens and Trollope: The Inner and Outer Man. She is an outsider, a hobbyist; she has kept her rebellious bond with books intact over any affiliation. Books surround the walls of her apartment. She has kept them all, or so it seems. The bookshelves, organized by category, are a rare instance of foreseeable logic. They are filled with what she read or intended to read a long time ago. She piles newer books on top of one another in stacks along the floor. These come and go more freely. Most of them are borrowed from the library, which she walks to and from every day, carrying at least two books on her back each way. With her space at capacity, each book is a stake, a decision, a sacrifice. Her overgrown commitment to these objects holds the whole in place; through narrow passages, the wind becomes a soft whistle, hovering in time.



2010 MFA, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York, NY

2005 BA, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA

2004 Chautauqua School of Art, Chautauqua, NY

2003 Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy

2000 Milton Academy, Milton, MA

Solo Exhibitions


The moon at the back of my face, Perimeter Gallery, Belfast, ME


The Balcony, Fondation des Etats-Unis, Paris, France

Group Exhibitions


Towards a Thinking Rug, Bannerette Gallery, Brooklyn, NY


Personne n’est pas indispensable, La Fonderie, Paris, France

Ruined Romans, At The Office Box, New York, NY


After Saturn Returns: Astrology As Analogy, Panel as Exhibition, This Red Door, Kunsthalle Galapagos, Brooklyn, NY


Mobile Device, Bodega Gallery, Philadelphia, PA


As You Like It, Heidi Cho Gallery, New York, NY

Columbia University MFA Thesis Exhibition, curated by Anthony Huberman, Emily Fisher Landau Center,            Long Island City, NY


Support, Frederieke Taylor Gallery, New York, NY


The New Constructionists, SPACE Gallery, Portland, ME


Wilderland, Second Gallery, South Boston, MA

Flowers, Spider Webs and a Large Mountain of Woe, Albina Press Gallery, Portland, OR


BA Thesis Exhibition: What a Fine Dog: Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Hampshire College Gallery, Amherst, MA



Columbia University, Emily Fisher Landau Grant


Columbia University, Visual Arts Fellowship


Studio Art Centers International, Merit Scholarship


A.O. Smith Prize for Non fiction, Milton Academy

The Art Prize, Milton Academy


2010 – 2011

Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship, Fondation des Etats-Unis, Paris, France


Unexpected Turns, by Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, December 28, 2006

Teaching Experience


Adjunct Professor, Drawing I, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York, NY


Teaching Assistant, Painting and Drawing, Columbia University SOA, New York, NY


Teaching Assistant, Advanced Painting, Columbia University SOA, New York, NY

Teaching Assistant, Drawing I, Columbia University SOA, New York, NY