Makers & Brothers

Richard Woods

Occupying a space between art, architecture and design, Richard Woods’ work can be identified by his signature wood grain motif among. Vibrant colours and exaggerated wood grain resurface existing structures and inform architectural interventions. He juxtaposes the real and artificial by creating an extreme version of what already exists and uses everyday surfaces as his canvas.

Resurfacing existing structures, Richard Woods is preoccupied with the notion of material reproduction and imitation and welcomes imperfections. He confronts our aesthetic values front on, exaggerating formal elements of basic construction materials, such as brick, paving and wood. He creates what he refers to as “logos of reality” and then uses them as a second skin covering surfaces with bold graphics, which results in a playful cartoon-like environment.

Traditional block-printing techniques are used by Woods to produce the iconic motif. A black base colour is printed over with a bright top layer using a hand cut woodblock and industrial enamel paint. The black base bleeds through the top coat and ensures a vivid graphic black outline. Hand printing allows for the imperfections that Woods so desires. Imperfections that attest for the human hand and help to bring his work back towards the crafts that originally inspired the materials he plays with.

Country Life is an exhibition of Richard Woods’ work currently running at Albion Barn. The exhibition is a direct response to the setting of Albion Barn and the English countryside - the environment is the exhibit. The floor to ceiling installation draws on the native vernacular, Britain’s architecture, which is papered over or replicated. The entire space is used and Woods transforms structure and spaces. The work on display becomes the tables, chairs and walls, and vice versa. The whole gallery becomes an immersive artwork that can be touched, walked through and lived in. 

 ‘The art isn’t really art, the craft isn’t really craft, the design isn’t really design, and the architecture certainly is not architecture. I like occupying the position of the enthusiastic outsider in each of the disciplines. Culturally, I think that’s a really interesting and useful place to be.’

Richard Woods has created temporary works for exhibition settings around the world. He applied this approach to a courtyard in the Henry Moore Project at the Venice Biennale 2004, to a residential building in upstate New York 2006, and a store interior for Comme des Garcons in Osaka in 2003. In 2007 he took his first steps into furniture design in collaboration with Sebastian Wrong, then the Design Director at Established & Son. Together they developed bookshelves, cupboards benches and more. All were covered in his now classic wood grain motif. At the scale of furniture the boldness can confound the senses and we love it.

His use of memorable and sometimes garish graphics, the play on vernacular material and the kitsch creates images that linger in the mind a little longer. His work leaves you questioning your surroundings in a world becoming increasingly more artificial. As we said, the graphic boldness and a play on scale confound the senses.

A beguiling contrast exists between functional and ornamental and Woods doesn’t differentiate between surfaces. For him, it is an easy transition between floor, furniture, space, structure and product. 

We love, love his work. So when we saw he had grown his creative relationship with Sebastian Wrong as part of the ever exciting ‘Wrong for Hay’ collection we had to get them in. Originally developed for the ‘Country Life’ exhibition, the tree trunk vases feature a painted take on his trademark motif. Each vase is the same but different, each is hand painted and the super exaggerated bark creates a collection of vases that don’t even need flowers.

The images featured are:

Tree Trunk Vases, Country Life Exhibition at Albion Barn
WrongWoods Chest of Drawers, for Established & Sons
Richard Woods, Block Printed and Hand Finished Wood Motif
DIY Instilation Video, Alan Cristea Gallery
Wood Motif Floor and Furniture, Country Life Exhibition at Albion Barn
Wood Motif Chairs, Country Life Exhibition at Albion Barn

‘Art is as much about design as it is art, and design is as much about art as it is about design.’

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