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 Bill Woodrow  (1948 - )

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: sculptor-junk assemblage

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Ad Code: 3
Bill Woodrow
from Auction House Records.
Junk Dunk
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Bill Woodrow is a sculptor known for his constructions created out of recycled material and "found objects". He was born in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, and received most of his education at English schools. In 1967 he attended the Winchester School of Art in Winchester and in 1968-1971 he enrolled in the St. Martins School of Art in London. At St. Martins Woodrow studied under Anthony Caro, an artist who dominated British sculpture with his large, abstract constructions. Although Caro had many imitators, Woodrow chose to follow his own artistic visions and ambitions. His early sculptures were surreal formations that combined different materials to tell a story. While attending the Chelsea School of Art in 1972, Woodrow exhibited his work at Londons Whitechapel Gallery. His blown-up landscape photographs received little attention.

During the 1970s Woodrow experimented with material objects manipulating and deconstructing them to express his artistic message. He responded to ideas of mass production and industry by dissembling machines, reproducing images of them and displaying their mechanical parts all as a complete art piece. In the 1980s he worked with household items like broken washing machines, mattresses and ironing boards. The original object often gave birth to other items after shapes were cut out of the metal body. The smaller pieces of metal would be formed into other shapes like a gun or a guitar. Woodrow often attached the smaller objects to the main appliance by strips of metal acting as an umbilical cord or tentacle. Woodrow tied these relevant items together to form a complete picture or instance of action. He eventually began to travel to exhibit his work and his materials were gathered at the location of his exhibitions.

In 1983 he traveled to New York City to give a show at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery and he was able to fine everything he needed for his sculptures on-site. By using what materials were available to him at the new locations, Woodrow could give the installations local relevance. His exhibit in California at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art (1985) was a commentary on the local population. The objects, including a key, a handgun, a gold bar and a Porche car door, were specifically chosen to reflect Woodrows beliefs about the local society.

Whether the message is political or cultural Woodrows art continues to provoke a reaction from the audience and remains unique in its construction and implementation. He has exhibited his work in many locations including, Mercer Union, Toronto, Canada (1984); the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (1983); and Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1985).

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