LIDO is proud to present an exhibition of new work by Richard Webb, which continues his scrutiny of the media that broadcast messages onto our streets and into homes and virtual lives. Webb identifies particular institutions and operations, from fringe religiosity to commerce, which, while being a fundamentally embedded part of our daily lives, seem nonetheless to inspire unease, suspicion and mistrust. In works combining production and reproduction techniques including print, photography and video he forces recording and play-back devices to scrutinize one another, creating puckers and exposing gaps and delays. The pristine technological surface is ruptured, undermining the efficient communication that these channels rely on. Other new works include machine-made sculpture and web interventions.
In the series, Anaglyphs, Google-sourced photographs of ecstatic religious meetings are rendered as if to be viewed with 3D glasses, although no glasses are provided. The viewer can only project what the impact and spectacle of this optical transformation might be, and any insight that might be gained into the spirit-touched gathering in the photograph remains similarly unresolved while the image remains doggedly 2-dimensional. The same refusal to offer a resolved image for passive consumption lies at the heart of Intermission, a digital drawing of phosphors on a Sony Trinitron television screen. The Trinitron is considered among the most prominent examples of the television as a fetishised household object. The red/green/blue coloured light of the TV screen, from which a near infinite colour palette can be rendered, is printed in solid colour, creating a still, but potent surface in place of an active, illusionistic one.
In Intermission the viewer becomes unavoidably complicit in the work as their reflected image interrupts the pristine glazed surface. In contrast, in The Art World the viewer remains indisputably on the outside, as the pile of letterforms (which make up the work’s title) lay unreadable in a disordered pile on the floor resembling a dismantled shop sign. Of course, there is no such thing as an art world and yet by affording it a name - a title - there is a suggestion of a kind of club, of which one is either a member or an outsider. The work is made in laser-cut expanded polystyrene, a material almost exclusively used in the packaging and protection of some other vulnerable object. Here, as in Webb’s other works, any presumption that he is unquestioningly critical of his subject is denied by his sympathetic and considered aesthetic. There is an undoubtedly clean and engaging beauty in the sculptural form of the white letterforms as they reflect the ambient light of the gallery.
Extending the limits of the exhibition, Webb has created a new work for the gallery’s website in the form of a banner advertisement that invades and clutters the clean and simple design of the site. 70 years after the world’s first TV commercial appeared before a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball game, Webb inverts the mercantile function of the advert. Rather than inserting a consumer message into the landscape of sports, he inserts a blank, or a pause, into the online landscape of signs.
Richard Webb (b. Hastings, 1985) completed his MA at University of Brighton in 2010. Recent exhibitions and events include Objects of Desire Freud Museum, London, Terror Management Theory The Agency Gallery, London, (D)FEFV Galerija Decumanus, Krk (CR), Voyeur Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, Kill no more pigeons than you can eat Benjamin Franklin House, London and Terra: Extremitas NDSM Kunststad, Amsterdam (NL). He lives and works in St Leonards-on-Sea.