Richard Wright, the 49-year-old British artist who most frequently paints very careful, abstract and rather baroque patterns onto gallery walls—most recently with silver and gold leaf (pictured)—is your Turner Prize winner for 2009, the Guardian reports. Wright’s work is especially interesting because it combines a complete dedication to traditional modes of production borrowed from fresco paintings, and a very contemporary, even trendy attempt to exist outside the art market.
As opposed to many of his peers—including Turner winners like Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst and Richard Deacon—whose monumental works merely court a wealthier class of collector, Wright’s work is often completely unsellable, painted onto museum and gallery walls and destined to be painted over when his exhibitions close. Such is the case with his entries in the Turner Shortlist exhibition at the Tate in London, all of which will be lost when the show closes on January 16. The prize means £25,000 ($41,000) for Wright and £5,000 ($8,000) for runners-up Enrico David, Lucy Skaer, and Roger Hiorns. Only British artists under 50 are eligible for the Turner, so this was Wright’s last chance.