Super Size Grain

New work by Richard Woods

Projects | 26 May 2022 - 18 May 2023

Following on from Erin Hughes work on the outside of Oriel Davies in 2021, this year we are working with Richard Woods.

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Richard Woods was born in Chester in 1966 and graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 1990, where he trained as a sculptor. Woods is well known for his architectural installations and re-surfacing of structures that propose an absurd twist on the cult of home improvement and DIY aesthetics. His works are characterised by cartoon-like decorative surfaces, bold patterns and vibrant colours.

Woods completed a major architectural commission in South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, has built a collection of cartoon holiday homes for the folkestone triennial in 2017, designed an interior for the Comme des Garçons' flagship store in Osaka, orchestrated the mock Tudor overhaul of a private residence in New York and transformed the interior of Cary Grant's former Hollywood residence for its new owner, Jeffrey Deitch. In 2003, his re-paving of a cloistered courtyard was the centrepiece of The Henry Moore Foundation's exhibition at the 50th International Venice Biennale of Art. More recently he installed a 90,000 sq feet architectural proposal at Houghton Hall in Norfolk and in 2021 submerged a 1/1 scale house in the River Skell at Fountains Abbey.

Recent solo exhibitions and solo public projects include 'Forever home' Fountain Abbey , Yorkshire 2021. ‘Small, Medium and Large’ Grosvenor Gardens , London 2020 , ‘Estate’ at Houghton Hall (2020), Frieze Sculpture, London (2018, 2013); Chelsea Space, London (2017); Folkestone Triennial (2017); Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2016); Festival of Love, Southbank Centre, London (2015); Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (2015); Albion Barn, Oxford (2015); Bloomberg Space, London (2012) and Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2009).

His works are held in major collections including the Saatchi Collection, London; Arts Council England, London; Victoria and Albert Museum; London; British Museum, London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Richard Woods lives and works in London.

Richard Woods was asked to respond to the exterior of our building to create a public exhibition of his work. Super Size Grain looks at the shapes created in furniture and on buildings through the use of wooden panels. The work asks us to think about what is real / what is fake? So much of the architecture in our region uses elements that disguise the truth. We see mock Tudor mansions, bungalows with multicoloured concrete rock. While Richard's sculptural work often creates buildings that are clearly not real buildings, they can be placed in locations which might cause the viewer to reconsider the landscape they're placed in. The recent past has seen an abundance of wood effect vinyls, floors, flat pack furniture, it all brings into question the truth to materials of artists and makers. Is it better to use real wood or wood effect?

Are the materials we use in our houses and buildings the real thing? Do they reflect our time? Can we tell how old something is by looking at it?

Super Size Grain turns Oriel Davies into a cartoon barn, a warm safe haven reflecting the materials used, at odds with the actual materials used in the original building and the upgrade in the 90s. Instead of cold steel doors here are brightly coloured wooden doors. The scale of the pattern is huge so do the doors make us look smaller?

We hope you like Super Size Grain (2022) by Richard Woods

Represented by Cristea Roberts Gallery


David Davies (Topsawyer) 1818-1890

David Davies (Topsawyer) was the Grandfather of David, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies (whose charities created the Davies Memorial Gallery (Oriel Davies) for the MCRA which opened on 28 October 1967).

A topsawyer holds the upper handle of a pit saw and stood in the upper position above the saw pit to cut planks of wood. This is part of the reason that we are showing these wood grains on the building that bears his family name.

David Davies was born in Llandinam in 1818, the eldest of five sons and four daughters. He left school aged 11 and became an itinerant sawyer with his father. At 28 he began work on the embankment and approach road to Llandinam Bridge and over the next ten years won contracts to develop railways in Mid and North Wales. Later in life he began operating a coal field in South Wales to meet the demands of the new railways and the factories and mills that were beginning to develop. By 1874 he was elected Liberal MP for Cardigan. In the 1870s and 1880s he was instrumental in the development of the College in Aberystwyth, a project which his son and grandchildren took forward to develop the University College of Wales. By the mid 1880s this topsawyer developed the railway and docks at Barry for the main purpose of exporting coal and coke. He died aged 71 in 1890.