Richard Woods D.I.Y. at Alan Cristea Gallery
Artist Richard Woods has remade Alan Cristea Gallery with a cartoonish installation and structures, as if a childish imagination had been able to colour in a room. Not exactly toys, but certainly simplified objects, a yellow painted brick structure stands as if made out of building blocks; a coloured-in chair serves as sculpture. The floor and walls are covered with block-printed floorboards, each in crayon colours, and there are other wall panels and objects.
The overall effect, before one has had a chance to work out what it might mean, is delightful. It’s possible to spend quite a bit of time just liking the exhibition before thinking more through: the colours are the palette of a childhood paint box or story book, everything has a plasticised sheen, and the gallery even smells rather like crayons.
Appealing and immediate, other meanings and interpretations start to occur. The exhibition is entitled D.I.Y., and plays on the aesthetics of home renovation and shed building without mocking either. Rather it examines the surface look, the transformation a little bit of colour can give materials. There is a play between transforming a space by applying a surface and deceiving by facade. Woods seems to have a fascination with the architectural possibilities of readily available materials and the artificiality of colour.
The scene is a fiction made out of planks, and even those aren’t real; it’s a construction, like a memory. It’s usually said in design that form follows function, but in this case the form and function of materials and colour serve to create an examination of artificiality. Somehow boards painted as wood look more like wood than the real thing, and allow us to examine what happens at surface level.
Richard Woods DIY is at Alan Cristea Gallery until 1st June 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.