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Experimental exhibition opens at VMFA October 21

“Willie Anne Wright: Artist and Alchemist” exhibit will span the artist’s 60-year career as a photographer and painter


Anne S at Jack B’s Pool, 1984, Willie Anne Wright (American, born 1924), silver dye bleach print.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment

A new exhibition is opening at the VMFA on Saturday, Oct. 21. “Willie Anne Wright: Artist and Alchemist” will explore the 60-year career of photographer, painter, and Richmond native Willie Anne Weight.

Wright was born in Richmond in 1924 and received her MFA at the Richmond Professional Institute — now Virginia Commonwealth University. In the 1970s, her art evolved from paintings, serigraphs, and drawings to photography, where she became an innovator in lensless processes like pinhole and photogram works.

You may have seen Wright’s work as part of the permanent collection at the VMFA or around the country, but the new exhibition will be a comprehensive look at her decades-long career.


Gracie with Dress, 2005, Willie Anne Wright (American, born 1924), gelatin silver print, 16 x 19 15/16 in.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment

Made up of 63 photographs and nine paintings, “Artist and Alchemist” spans a variety of themes, from feminine identity and motherhood to popular culture to the cultural mythology of the South.

The VMFA acquired an extensive collection of Wright’s work, including the artist’s archive, in March. The museum announced that there would be a special exhibition for Wright when it added the pieces to its permanent collection.

You can find “Willie Anne Wright: Artist and Alchemist” in the Evans Court Gallery on the second floor of the museum. It’ll be open to the public — no special ticket required — through Sunday, April 28.

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