Thursday, November 04, 2010

Seth on Doug Wright, beloved weekend cartoonist of my childhood, kindred spirit:

"In one memorable panel [Wright] drew a large complicated vista of a strip mall, the parking lot, the street behind the parking lot and finally the hills beyond – all of which perfectly captured the essence of just such a mid-twentieth-century location. Looking at this drawing is practically the same as visiting the place. As his backgrounds grew in complexity so did their 'sense of exactness.' The environment of the strip was, undoubtedly, his own house, his own neighbourhood and his own town. Wright was drawing the very world that I grew up in – the south-western Ontario of the sixties and seventies. Every carefully rendered detail is perfectly familiar to me: the ranch-style homes, the school yards, the corner stores – even the little things like the screen doors.


Earlier I used the term 'sense of exactness' to describe Wright’s drawings. That sense was never more acute than in his drawings of the post-war suburban environment. They evoke the very experience of being there. I can think of nothing else, not even photographs, that brings that world of my childhood back to me with such deeply felt longing. As I peer into his strips I see the essence of an era that no longer exists. The last breath of the early twentieth century mixing with the new world that is to come.

On occasion, Wright would focus his great rendering skills on a small poetic moment of everyday life such as a snowy winter morning or a dusky evening of fireworks or a sudden sun shower. These images never drew undue attention to themselves. They never slowed the strips down. Still, if you stopped and took the time to take them in you would feel their subtle beauty."

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