“There is a sense of good health and romance in these depictions, where machinery is deployed, it is simple and trustworthy. There is a notion of simplicity in this life; nature is inspiring but it is controlled; it is never dark and dangerous.” Richard Woods
During Frieze Art Fair week in London a pop-up exhibition, Richard Woods’s ‘Nice Life 3’ was arranged by Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York at a recently vacated Print Shop in 14 Dover Street, Mayfair in the centre of London’s traditional artland and nova fashionista area. Were the pop-uppers aware that they were but a few doors away from the home of the ICA at 17-18 Dover St from 1950 – 1968, with modernist interiors designed by Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry?
The exhibition of wood-block paintings features fragments of flora and fauna – natural and romantic images of birds, dogs, butterflies, flowers and landscape in a continuous linear hanging around the interior of the space and as an exterior shop sign, with a floor pattern of a multi-coloured cartoon-style log-cabin wooden parquet.
Richard Woods’s speciality is to change buildings with an alternative repertoire of patterns, from 1930’s Elizabethan Tudor, to Georgian Doll’s House Red Brick to 1960’s Crazy Paving, and out of context surface designs that upset our expectations of architectural style and unbalances our perception of the city environment. The effect is of a three-dimensional Hanna-Barbera cartoon segment that echoes The Jetsons or The Flintstones, or a leftover film set rather than trompe l’oeil realism.
The Pop Up gallery appeared at 14 Dover St, London W1 from 14 – 16 October 2010 during Frieze Art Fair.
Interior image courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery