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Show Review: Rachel Whiteread

Tate Britain
12 September 2017 – 21 January 2018

The exhibition of Rachel Whiteread’s work currently on at Tate Britain is a real treat because it is the biggest survey of her work ever shown, spanning 30 years of output. This abundance really brings attention to the extensive range of materials she has mastered in her practice during that time.

It features large-scale sculptural works in industrial materials such as plaster, resin, rubber, concrete, and metal alongside smaller works on paper, which are rarely shown publicly and usually only seen in books. Whiteread’s intimate drawings hold a fascination for me because of the variety of mark making techniques she employs; a mixture of varnish, pencil, ink, correction fluid, watercolour, and collage on a range of supports from graph to cartridge paper. She describes her use of correction fluid as being about building up layers, almost like ‘casting a drawing’. By laser-cutting into plywood her drawings have evolved into 3d forms.

Whiteread has said that drawing for her is a core activity that she uses as a visual diary to explore her thoughts and ideas on a daily basis. I feel inspired now to do this myself as a daily practice to let go and see what can come up from my subconscious.

What is particularly interesting for me about this exhibition is the way it brings together her obsession with the domestic, starting with four early sculptures from her first solo show in 1988; a dressing table, a clothes cupboard, the underside of a bed, and a hot-water bottle – which was the starting point for the series of ‘torsos’.

Whiteread became known for her unusual casting technique when she became the first women to win the Turner Prize with ‘House’ in 1993. Traditional casting methods always seek to replicate objects as they are seen, but this ambitious work was a concrete cast of the entire interior of a terraced house in London’s East End.

I have always admired her way of making negative space a solid form because of the way it toys with Freud’s theory of the uncanny by rendering the everyday into something strange, and threatening. As well as exploring the negative space around domestic objects such as tables, beds, bookcases, boxes, and architectural features including stairs, floors, windows, doors, and sheds she has also cast the invisible space inside objects like bottles and mattresses.

These works challenge our perception, creating a conceptual flip that causes us to question our sense of reality.

The National Open Art Competition 2011

The 15th National Open Art Exhibition

10 – 29 December 2011
Open 10am – 9pm daily
Minerva Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre, Oaklands Park, Chichester PO19 6AP

‘Il Gattopardo’ has been selected by Gavin Turk (artist), Catherine Lampert (former director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London), Lisa Wright (2009 winner), Rosie Emerson (artist) and Francis Hodgson (Financial Times) for the 2011 exhibition.

All work is for sale, admission is FREE.

Panel Led Discussion
19.00 15 December
Piers Ottey (artist), Prof Ed Chaney (expert on the Grand Tour), David Lee (Jackdaw), Steve McDade (Head of Fine Art at the University of Chichester, and Mandy Shepherd (artist) will all discuss their views on contemporary art and the exhibition.

Artist Walkabouts
Tim Sandys- Renton and Piers Ottey talk you round the exhibition.
18.00 12 December
12.00 14 December
12.00 19 December
12.00 21 December

http://www.thenationalopenartcompetition.com/index.php

Interior Castle – Solo Show of Charcoal Drawings by Fran Richardson

Exhibition: 10 March – 8 April 2011
Gallery opening times: tues. – fri. 10 – 5.30 + sat. 11 – 2:30
Nearest tube: Pimlico

This exhibition of finely rendered charcoal drawings takes the celebrated 1579 book by the mystic St Teresa of Avila as a point of departure to propose a visual contemplation on perception, memory, and the symbolic nature of interior space.

During a meditation Teresa had a vision in which the soul was ‘a castle made of a single diamond … in which there are many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions.’ This body of work explores the opulent splendour of the various rooms through which the soul in its quest for perfection must pass before reaching the innermost chamber, the place of complete transfiguration. We are invited as voyeurs to enter a private world of intimate spaces imbued with hidden meaning and complex emotions.

Building on previous series of interiors, Richardson continues to explore the representation of psychological space by blending architecture and furniture from different sources through a process of appropriation, selection, collage, and re-presentation. The fragmented imagery is transformed by design elements such as cropping, reversing, and redrafting. Perspectival irregularities are exploited to subtly disrupt the final composition, suggesting a sense of unease that questions our perception of reality and the enigma of appearances.

The drawing process facilitates the manipulation of tone by employing a meticulous technique that carefully distributes deposits of charcoal onto the surface. Value is achieved by controlling the extent to which the texture of the ground shows through the spread of black: in this sense we are presented with the materiality of the surface as much as the image. For Richardson drawing is a primary activity and a stand-alone medium; these works are not the evidence of a preliminary stage that serves painting as a conceptual aid, they are finished works in their own right. Charcoal was selected because it is receptive to minor adjustment permitting subtle gradations in tonal value and sharp contrast between the pure white of the paper to the dense, velvety blackness of the shadows, conveying a sense of ethereal, atmospheric mystery that references early film noir.

By combining the imaginative transformation of appropriated imagery with a realist language that evokes the naturalistic qualities of light, space, and atmosphere, Richardson works in the Dutch tradition of painting imaginary architectural portraits. All works on paper are professionally framed to archival standard in hardwood box frames glazed with Water White ultra clear glass, which is anti- glare, anti-reflective, and UV protective.

Richardson was recently awarded The Arts Club Charitable Trust drawing prize at the National Open Art Competition, the Brian Sinfield Fine Arts Award at Pastels Today and the Visitors’ Choice Award at the Brighton Festival Selectors’ Choice exhibition. Drawings were also selected for the Manifest International Drawing Annual 4 and Drawing Room II, a survey of contemporary drawing at the Royal West of England Academy. Fran Richardson is represented by Long & Ryle, London and is a visiting lecturer at the City & Guilds of London Art School, London.

Please contact Emma Wingfield or Sarah Long for further information.

LONG&RYLE 4 JOHN ISLIP STREET LONDON, SW1P 4PX
longandryle.com

Brighton Festival 2009

Fran has been awarded the Visitors Choice Prize by visitors to the ‘House: Art and Domestic Space’ show on recently at The Regency Town House. Throughout the Brighton Festival visitors were able to vote for their favourite artist taking part in the Selectors’ Choice exhibition.

The Selectors’ Choice exhibition showcases work of artists exhibiting in the Open Houses. The exhibition, chosen by curators from Brighton Museum, Pallant House Gallery Chichester and The Regency Town House, mixes accomplished, dynamic and engaging work in a stunning gallery space. ‘Untitled – Chair 3’ and ‘Untitled – Bed 5’ have been selected by Nicola Coleby (Exhibitions, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery), Simon Martin (Assistant Curator, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester), and Woodrow Kernohan (Director, Permanent Gallery).

The domestic context of The Regency Town House forms the perfect setting for an open exhibition based on the theme of ‘House’. Over 80 artists submitted work, and the work chosen provides an imaginative discourse on the theme. ‘House’ is explored through its association with domesticity, shelter, enclosure, space, materials, family, memory and many other meanings. The work ranges from complex to deceptively simple, from evident association with the theme to more subtle exploration that rewards engagement. Assemblages, moving image work, paintings and prints are combined in a thought provoking exhibition in the resonant setting of this Regency period townhouse in the midst of restoration.

Pastels Today 2009

‘Untitled – Bed 8’ has been awarded the Brian Sinfield Fine Arts Award. The drawing was selected from an exhibition of the best of contemporary pastel painting and drawing in the UK on show at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London. On show was a variety of work in pastels, oil pastels and charcoal, reflecting the diverse nature of the medium, and included work by the late Mark Leach and invited artist John Emmanuel.