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.
'Rich has a gentle and steady energy which wins the trust of those around him. He can therefore engage with a range of people in order to consult with them. His thoughtful approach results in work that is quirky, but clearly rooted in the area in which he is working.'
Helga Henry, Director, Creative SHIFT
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Group show featuring work as an integral part of the interior and exterior of a B&B built within the Gallery.
The work was developed following research at Yesterdays B&B in Newtown, Wales. Rich asked staff and residents to discuss ideas of what their perfect getting-away-from-it-all situation would be, and to draw pictures of these. The most popular responses mainly concerned water/seaside, beach/desert island, remote places and plenty of sun. Alongside this was the story of the B&B itself which concerned an earthquake, a lot of building work and a building that shifted and changed to meet the requirements of the inhabitants.
Combining and refining all of this information Rich created a room (which appeared to be newly discovered) where visitors could get away from it all. The room contained a land/seascape formed from layers of overlapping timber beams, as if the building were shifting and altering itself. The room was deliberately free of any decoration or furniture to further enhance the feeling of remoteness - it was completely at odds with the chintz and flower-patterned visual overload of the ersatz B&B.
'Rich White's practice draws on a thorough process of collating information and generating dialogue in order to produce ambitious pieces of work in an extremely resourceful way. For Oriel Davies in 2013 he produced Deliverance for a group exhibition, Be Our Guest, in which he responded to a particular local Guest House. He worked with guests, staff and owners collating stories, dreams and aspirations as well as responding to the physical history and context of the building itself. The final piece made simply out of single lengths of wood was a shimmering installation, undulating within a hidden 'room' and discovered only by a secret corridor leading visitors away from the familiarity of the chintz. Both reflecting the aspirations and desires of 'getting away' as well as the architecture of the original Guest House building, White took visitors on a surprising and captivating journey.'
Alex Boyd Jones, Curator, Oriel Davies Gallery.
Artists include: Absent but not Forgotten, Caroline Ali, Colin Andrews, Dave Ball & Oliver Walker, Bird-Jones & Heald, Justine Cook, Marisa Culatto, Danielle Drainey, Anna Falcini, Janet Farahar, Craig Fisher, Tom Hackett, Joanne Henderson, Sian Hughes, JOAKES, Roger Lougher, Angela Lizon, Nigel Matthews, Andrew McPhail, Loraine Morley, Tiff Oben & Helene Roberts, Joanna Peace, Gaia Persico, Carol Quarini, Carole Romaya, Suzanne Smith, Jacki Storey, Fern Thomas from the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands, Cally Trench, Anita Wyatt.
Special thanks to Moyra, Jim, Mandy, Kim, and everyone staying at Yesterdays B&B.
Also thanks to Alex, Frank, Neil and everyone at Oriel Davies
Part of Research & Development.