Richard Woods: Door and Window Paintings
I guess all paintings are in some way windows or doors?
Maybe I invented that phrase or maybe I read that somewhere?
I certainly remembered someone else saying that ‘Art is the window to a man’s soul’.
I started making these door and window paintings about six months ago, I had been walking a lot around Hackney in East London where I live. The East End is undergoing quite a transformation at the moment. There’s a lot of buildings springing up and there’s a lot of gloss paint going on.
I’m interested in the aesthetic choices that we make when paint is being applied. Whether we go for a colour that’s sombre and grown up, or whether we go for something more edgy and colourful, or whether we don’t bother painting the top coat... maybe something more important cropped up in our lives and we never got the job finished.
I think these paintings are a marriage between what I’ve seen other people do to their doors and windows and what I’d want to do to them if they were mine.
During the past six months I’ve played around with the scale of the windows and doors. For a time I thought they needed to be oversized: ‘super-sized’ kitchen windows, ‘mega-sized’ dining room doors, but the works have all ended up being ‘normal’ sized. I think the 1:1 scale gives the works an objectivity. It’s important to me that the doors can be rehung as real doors, this also adds to the unhelpful debate of the differences between art and design and between useful and useless art.
I was thinking a lot about Roy Lichtenstein’s back to front canvas stretcher paintings. The artist’s canvas when viewed from the front is an image. By flipping it back to front Lichtenstein not only gives us a window frame but also turns the canvas image into an object. We are presented with an image of the object that is the back of the painting.
By hanging the doors and windows on a gallery wall I am proposing that the design decisions we all make are read as art, and it is the place where art and design and architecture get all mixed up, this is the place I like the most.
Richard Woods, 11 October 2019