British artist Richard Woods has a funny take on the frenetic rise of DIY cutture and the English tradition of caravan camping, while thinking about globally urgent issues like housing insecurity and population displacement.
His cheery houses, built on spec using commercial products and local labor with a paint job that match's a site's mood, history or light conditions, are everyday homes, scaled small to make them doll-like and intimate. The various positions they assume-floating on a barge in the middle of a lake, perched atop a parking lot battlement, tossed onto a sandy beach close to the high tide line-suggest a family in slight peril, up-ended by the dramatic economic and political forces shifting around them. A home is considered the pinnacle of middle-class success and stability, and was one of the most important markers of arrival in our post-war period. Yet residents of the United Kingdom are facing a dramatic shift in their global leadership with the Brexit vote, which is making residents nervous about their historical standing in the world.
Woods' cartoonish sculptures point to the bold Pop aesthetic and visual wit of British painter Patrick Caulfield. However, Woods' 2018 exhibition at Alan Cristea Gallery, titled The Ideal Home Exhibition, shows him indebted to British artist Richard Hambleton's famous collage Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?, 1956, that defined Britain's post-war obsession with consumer culture. The graphic, modular nature of the work also recalls American painter Peter Halley's paintings of schematized systems, which are both architectural plans and nightmare mazes. Woods creates a range of objects that could fill and cover any home too, including paintings, flooring and furniture. The artist creates a portrait of contemporary Westem society grappling with a new definition of "home.'
Richard Woods was born in Chester, England, in 1966, and lives and works in London. He graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, in 1990. Woods has created dramatic architectural interventions, including transforming Cary Grant's former home in Hollywood for dealer Jeffrey Deitch, and designing a spectacular store interior for Comme des Garçon in Osaka, Japan. He has recently bedazzled DKUK, a hybrid hair salon / exhibition space run by artist Daniel Kelly that receives funds from the Arts Council England.
Over the past decade one-person exhibitions of Woods' works have been held at: Alan Cristea Gallery and the Skip Gallery, London; David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen; Friedman Benda Project Space, New York; Eastside Projects, Birmingham, Bloomberg SPACE, London; the Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York; Tumer Contemporary, Margate, UK; and Grieder Contemporary, Zurich. Museum exhibitions of his work have been held at: Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Wales; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Woods' work has been included in the following group shows: Frieze Sculpture Park, the Festival of Love, Southbank Centre, and the Saatchi Gallery, all in London; the Folkestone Triennial, UK; The Red Brick Sculpture Show, Milan; and the Liverpool Biennale, UK. Woods was commissioned to do a work by Hyundai for the XXII Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018. His work is in the collections of the Residence du Parc; Turin; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Arts Council Collection, the British Museum and The Saatchi Collection, London.