Not quite a painter, not quite an installation artist, Tyrone Wright struggles with applying language to his profession. But, he says, “it feels like I’m doing something unique if I can’t be easily categorised”. Semantics aside, Wright has garnered a cult following with the immersive art experiences he stages under the moniker Rone. Recent projects include “RONE in Geelong” (2021), featuring works he created in response to the architecture at Geelong Gallery, and “Time” (2022–2023), a love letter to the city of Melbourne, three years in the making, staged on Flinders Street Station’s abandoned third floor.
Wright is more confident verbalising his enduring source of inspiration, which he sums up in just three words: “beauty and decay”. From the texture of an old wall to a broken vase or a delicate cobweb clinging to the corner of a shelf, Wright draws artistic fuel from the exquisitely broken. “Something in a fragile state always seems more beautiful because you realise that they might not be there tomorrow,” he says. “It causes you to appreciate it now.”
When conceptualising his large-scale works, Wright begins with the location’s confines, rather than a concept. “It’s structure first,” he says, noting that his fascination with decay is not without obstacles (“I can’t just destroy the building and walk away from it.”) Wright wrestles with depicting damage while maintaining a site’s aesthetic and conditional integrity. For “RONE”, this necessitated laying a brand-new “ancient”-looking custom-printed floor over the gallery’s fresh floorboards.
As for what’s next? “My immediate next project is a holiday,” he jokes. “It’s quite an exciting time, to be completely flexible with time and ideas and concepts. And I’m feeling pretty lucky about it.”