Counterwork.co.uk is the website of sculptor Rich White. The title comes from a 1998 work Counterwork.
It was first launched in early 2001.
Rich White makes multi-layered installation works about location, sense of place and the relationships that develop between people and their environment.
Key aspects to his practice are resonance and discovery: Works are informed by research of the locality, dictated by architecture and space, and through the uncovering of stories of identity, memory, place, humanity, politics and history. These findings are interwoven into the structures creating a context for the work to exist within with the form and narrative of the work resonating with the location and the viewer. The work also provides the viewer with a sense of discovery; the installations are immersive and interactive, inviting the viewer to explore, travel, climb and reposition themselves in order to fully engage with the work.
The forms the works take are often unknown at inception; beginning on site and organically shaped by the limitations of space, material and self-imposed restrictions. White challenges himself to pragmatically develop and craft new techniques and methods as the work progresses; drawing on familiar patterns, local history and material connections. Risk-taking and coincidence play a creative role in his practice; chance encounters with places, people or materials inform the work in its scope and development, creating a socio-political sculpture responding to the varied perspectives people have of their locations and the events that shape them.
'Part of the challenge, and the integral way White achieves his installations (though epic in their scale and ambition) is through a simplifying of a complex process, a distillation of an idea or material; structurally intervening in and navigating through spaces.'
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This year’s Serpentine pavilion is excellent. Designed by Herzog & De Meuron and Ai Wei Wei the structure consists of a sunken pit lined with cork and topped with an almost circular pond. The design of the pit references the eleven other pavilions, showing the excavations and foundations of these previous buildings.
The effect creates a really comfortable place to sit. The seemingly haphazard layout creates an interesting space to explore and the cork makes it very tactile experience - you want to touch it and sit on it. It also has a dampening effect on the sound so it’s not too echoey.
Make sure you visit it before it ends on 14 October 2012.Posted by Rich
I went to the seminar ’The New Economy of Art: What are we worth? Artists and the Economic Crisis‘ last night. It’s part of a series of discussions run by Artquest, CAS and DACS. It began with a panel discussion chaired by Gilane Tawadros with John Kieffer, Zineb Sedira and Bob and Roberta Smith, and then opened up to the audience for questions and discussion.
As usual I couldn’t think of a question until later on (I really have to work on that!). It was interesting and the panel spoke well, with tentative advice and supportive sounds (with the best advice coming from Sedira: “ask for a fee"), but I didn’t feel that they actually answered, or at least addressed, the question in the title of the seminar: What are we worth?
The problem I seem to come across most in my practice is that a large amount of the general public think that art is a waste of time and money. The measures the current government are bringing in (or taking out!) only go to compound this idea that the arts are the least important aspect of our society. Granted, they are not the most important either, but they have a place. Both Kieffer and Smith stressed the importance and impact of the arts in England; Smith particularly, eliciting ripples of applause for his rallying cries. But they’re preaching to the converted. Everyone in the room was either an artist, an arts professional or some kind of cultural engineer. We know art has an inherent value, we know that society will be a worse place without art, without theatre, without cinema, without music. My question to the panel would’ve been: what can we do to prove our worth - to convince those that think art is not for them to think otherwise?Posted by Rich
‘I understand that an artist is someone who, in the midst of others’ silence, uses his own voice to say something and who makes sure that what he says is not useless, but something that is useful to mankind.’
I really like this.
My problem with Miró’s work? I find something unsatisfying about his compositions. I much preferred the earlier, almost illustrative works, and the later large canvases which I felt had a lot of energy in them.Posted by Rich
There are also some nice mentions of my set design:
‘The set of screens designed by Rich White are wielded around by the cast and turn from street scene, to classroom, to playground, street corner and rubbish dump, even the ground, in a flash.’ From The Public Reviews.
‘White’s first set packs a lot into a small space.’ From The Stage.
‘White’s set (his first - he’s a sculptor) is a number of panels that at first suggest concrete blocks or the walls of a pedestrian underpass which can be moved around by the cast to indicate different locations or interiors such as a classroom At the rear, glimpsed between them, are some flowers tied onto a lamp-post, a reminder of some past tragic death.’ From The British Theatre Guide.
‘The sets are well-designed in a minimal yet versatile fashion...’ From Left Lion.Posted by Rich
I heard my harshest criticism at the private view of Collusion on Thursday night.
I was taking a few photos of the work while people were milling around and noticed that there was a very bored-looking little boy sitting on the floor between the projectors. I think he was about 10 years old.
‘I’m bored. Can we go now?’ He said.
‘Not yet, be quiet.’ Said his mother. She was studying the work quite intensely.
‘I’m bored! You said there’d be a light show?’
‘This a light show, look at the projectors.’
‘It’s not, it’s boring!’ He waggled his knees and flopped his head side to side.
‘Why don’t you try looking? Try using your imagination?’ His mother asked.
‘I have looked. There’s a door, there’s a door, there’s a door and there’s another door. There’s four doors. I’m bored!’
I must try harder.Posted by Rich