A solo exhibition of works by Richard Woods will feature a site-specific installation in which Woods will clad the gallery space from floor to ceiling. This large-scale installation will show alongside two new series of editions, his renowned Woodblock Inlays series as well as a group of new sculptures, all combining to create a homogenous environment.
The work of Richard Woods traverses the boundaries between art, architecture and design in an on-going examination of the relationship between the functional and the ornamental. The everyday surfaces that surround us provide the canvas onto which the artist transposes elements from the vernacular of traditional urban design. His architectural interventions toy with perception and reality, manipulating and transforming the facades and interiors of existing structures through the application of synthetic fronts or ‘logos’: galleries become mock-Tudor houses, City Hall security booths red brick-castles, and cloistered Venetian courtyards crazy-paved suburban patios.
His simplified, stylised facades poke fun at our aesthetic values, both mocking and paying homage to the cult of renovation and DIY. His distilled encasements impose new values on the buildings they occupy, contrasting the urban with the rural, the old with the new, and the congested with the minimal. Each installation challenges us to confront the way in which we construct our surroundings, and probes the irrevocable artificiality of our local environment.
Woods’ site-specific installation at the Alan Cristea Gallery will comprise interior floor and wall coverings in his trademark vibrantly-coloured and exaggerated wood-grain motif. Deceptively simple in form, these bold images are produced using traditional block-printing techniques and installed as parquetry (inlaying wood in geometric patterns). Pre-occupied with the notion of reproduction, the techniques employed by Woods allude to historical artisanal processes, the power of iconography and the dominance of consumerist plasticity. As is the case with much of Woods’ work, the method of construction is appropriate to the surface he is mimicking, articulating the similarities between the artist’s methodology and materials, and those used in everyday situations.
Woods’ print projects are the result of collaboration between the artist and Alan Cristea Gallery and represent a natural progression from his installations and sculpture, all of which start with a printed image. The first suite – Woodblock Inlays – takes their composition from seemingly random scatterings of ‘offcuts’ from one of the artist’s floor installations printed onto a single colour background taken from a sheet of plywood. The most recent series, shown for the first time here, appear as more ordered compositions – segments seemingly abstracted from a larger completed floor work. Both series are densely inked and heavily printed to create a rich, physical surface on the paper. Reminiscent of Suprematist aesthetics, the strength and severe geometry of their lines also recalls the abstraction of High Modernism, drawing attention to its devolution into the world of commercial decor. Echoing the postmodern irony of his installations, the work plays with the intersection between the real and artificial.
Richard Woods was born in Chester in 1966. Selected solo exhibitions include Public Commission, Antwerp (2010); Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2009); Royal Academy of Art, London (2002), Public Art Fund, New York (2009), Grieder Contemporary, Zurich (2008); Liverpool Biennial (2008); Milton Keynes Gallery (2008); Deitch Projects, New York and Miami (2003); Cosmic Galerie, Paris (2006) and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). His work is housed in numerous major collections including the Saatchi Collection, Arts Council England, and the Fusan Museum, Istanbul. He currently lives and works in London.
The Alan Cristea Gallery: Solo exhibition of works by Richard Woods from 29 April – 1 June 2013 at 34 Cork Street