Color confuses me. Every day when I get up, I have to think about it. I love color, but there are too many decisions to make. Am I an aesthete? Is color about necessity for me in my work—or is it simply a product of what I am thinking about?
I try not to dwell on it; if I did, I would only ever use black and white.
Gagosian is pleased to present new sculpture by Rachel Whiteread. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
Over the past two decades, Whiteread has developed various approaches to casting and impression as both a process and vehicle for content. Her practice is based on a persistent duality: a pragmatic approach to the materials and making of art coupled with a fascination with the psychologically charged associations and traces of human contact borne by and embedded in objects and environments. By casting the empty and unexamined spaces inside and around the domestic objects and materials that populate daily life, she renders negative space as positive sculptural form to poignant and unprecedented effect.
In recent years, Whiteread has moved away from the monolithic, architectural, and site-specific sculptures for which she became so renowned, such as Ghost (1990), House (1993), and Basement (2001), returning to a more intimate scale to explore the mutable nature of mass-produced vessels and materials. Her ensembles of cast packaging in delicately modulated hues of white, ranged on tables and shelves or leaned casually against the wall, have prompted comparison with the work of Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, whose simple and repetitive motifs—bottles, jars, and vases—and restrained use of color, value, and compositional balance made him a prescient and important forerunner of Minimalism.
In the current work, Whiteread has passed beyond her characteristically muted and spectral palette, exploring the conventions of still life in a more relaxed and exuberant mood. Casting all manner of small packing boxes, containers, and discarded materials in vividly pigmented plaster and jelly-hued resin—acid greens, watery blues, deep amber, rose, tangerine, and saffron—she has assembled animated groupings of the resulting objects on wall-mounted shelves or set them casually on low bronze plinths and tubular steel chair frames. Immortalized vestiges of today’s avid consumer culture, these tableaux are Whiteread’s wry, sometimes inverse reflections on the role of color in art and life.
A fully illustrated catalogue with an accompanying essay by James Lawrence will be available.
Augurs of Spring
As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney Stutterheim reflects on the iconography and symbolism of the season in art both past and present.
Tom Eccles and Kiki Smith on Rachel Whiteread
On the occasion of Artist Spotlight: Rachel Whiteread, curator Tom Eccles and artist Kiki Smith speak about the work of Rachel Whiteread through the lens of their personal friendships with her. They discuss her public projects from the early 1990s to the present, the relationship between drawing and sculpture in her practice, and the way her works reveal the memories embedded in familiar everyday objects.
Rachel Whiteread and Ann Gallagher
Rachel Whiteread speaks to Ann Gallagher about a new group of resin sculptures for an exhibition at Gagosian in London. They discuss the works’ emphasis on surface texture, light, and reflection.
Rachel Whiteread on Piero della Francesca
Rachel Whiteread writes about the Italian artist’s Baptism of Christ (after 1437) and what has drawn her to this painting, from her first experience of it at a young age to the present day.
Cast of Characters
James Lawrence explores how contemporary artists have grappled with the subject of the library.
Shy Sculpture: Nissen Hut
Rachel Whiteread’s public sculpture Nissen Hut was unveiled in October 2018 in Yorkshire’s Dalby Forest. Curator Tamsin Dillon explores the dynamic history of these structures and provides a firsthand account of the steps leading up to the work’s premiere.
October 21–27, 2020
In Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures and drawings, everyday settings, objects, and surfaces are transformed into ghostly replicas that are eerily familiar. Through casting, she frees her subject matter—from beds, tables, and boxes to water towers and entire houses—from practical use, suggesting a new permanence, imbued with memory.
Photo: Anita Corbin, from the series First Women UK