Richard Woods’ art shifts across the boundaries of art, architecture and graphic design, as a new, lavishly illustrated book of his work explains.
Woods’ practice ranges from huge, block-printed wall coverings to smaller sculptures and paintings, but he is probably best known for his floor works, which are installed in galleries and shops around the world as well as the homes of artists and designers such as Tim Noble & Sue Webster and Detmar & Isabella Blow.
The floor paintings, which often appear like brightly coloured cartoon versions of old oak panels, are first hand-drawn by Woods, before being enlarged in a photocopy shop, with the resulting printouts glued onto sheets of plywood. By using this process, he references DIY TV shows and laminate flooring, a design ubiquitous in property developments over the last decade, as well as the bright colours and patterning in the art of Jim Lambie and Patrick Caulfield.
In recent years, Woods has also begun creating coverings for the outside of houses, turning various homes into mock-Tudor mansions and restyling an Oxford college building as a red-brick home, making it appear both splashy and suburban at the same time.
Describing this work in an interview with Gordon Burn within his monograph, he comments: “What I do is much more about the floors or walls making you look at the rest of the space differently. With NewBUILD in Oxford, the red brick surface made you notice the real bits of architecture around it. Similarly, the cartoon style of the floors makes you look at the room that’s there to begin with… It’s the graphic that makes you look at the stuff around you. If you’ve been shopping and you plonk the bright shopping bags in your house, you suddenly notice the table is different in relation to the bags. That’s something about the function of graphics and their relation to real things.”
Richard Woods, which features an introduction by Marco Livingstone as well as the interview with Burns, is published by Lund Humphries, £30.
Logo no. 14, The New Art Gallery, Walsall, 2005; Commissioned in association with the Contemporary Art Society
NewBUILD, New College, 2005; Commissioned in association with the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford
Logo no.10, 2005, commissioned by Tim Noble & Sue Webster for Dirty House, London, 2004
Super Tudor, Deitch Projects, New York, 2002
Store interior commissioned by Paul Smith for Happy Shop, Tokyo, 2005