Laura White

‘Pollute Volute’, Laura White

HS Projects is delighted to present ‘Pollute Volute’, an exhibition of recent and new work by Laura White.

Over the past two and half years White’s materially engaged practice has brought into focus her relationship with nature, specifically looking at trees and fungi, their ability to connect through mycelium underground and their capacity to store carbon. Trees support an ecosystem of life well beyond their years, leafless dead trees a host to a wealth of living creatures.

Her works respond both visually and scientifically to the way trees and fungi grow, such as ideas of adaption and change in relation to the immediate circumstances and surroundings, opposed to a predetermined fixed plan.

Laura White chooses to work with materials that challenge her, such as soft unstable plastics to build up layer by layer with no final goal in mind, other than to grow up, pushing the material to the limit – a lean to the left requiring a counter lean to avoid falling over.

The Pollute Volute series of which Rise 1- 3 are being exhibited here, are unruly sculptures stretching nearly 3.5 meters high, layers of coloured silicone rubber separated by tissue paper hand built from the bottom up. These organic forms are a product of their making, connecting to traditional craft methods and the process of 3D printing.

The smaller works, ‘Spurt’ series grow more uniformly upwards, maintaining control of the material, while the ‘Spurtives’ push the unpredictability of the material to the limit. The actions used in the larger works rely on Laura’s entire body to shape and form them whereas these table top works are the outcome of a gesture between finger and thumb, reducing the movement of her body, and as a consequence miniaturising the works.

Laura White’s practice focuses on a negotiation with the world of STUFF, ie interactions with materials and objects exploring ideas of value, profile, association, meaning and behaviour of materials, individual and collections of objects, and exploring the digital and physical environments which are increasingly indistinguishable. Works occupy a fluid space, on one hand demanding critical discourse, and on the other their own ambiguous and intuitive logic.

Things are explored both as material stuff and anthropological signifiers, that are capable of revealing the human condition – vulnerabilities and capabilities, value systems affected by consumerism and material status, and objects/human dependencies.

It is important for White to explore as the maker and to communicate to the viewer a material engagement, where the works suggest a human physical interaction. Materials are pushed and challenged, such as to manipulate ceramics as if it was malleable clay, to take a process familiar in one material and apply to another, to tear, break, collapse and then deal with the consequences. Laura’s fascination with material behaviour addresses ideas of not knowing, not planning, unlearning and been open to failure which exposes her own vulnerabilities and strengths, as well as those of the materials she uses.

Laura’s practice is interdisciplinary and includes studio based work: sculpture, installation, drawing and photography, WRITING: on material encounters and entanglements with the world of stuff ( launching in 2017) and FIELDWORK: workshops exploring materiality, both participating on and running them. E.g. She collaborated with the Royal College of Art and Raven Row Gallery London, a project titled ‘what it means to handle stuff – auto-pedagogy – a course in butchery’, which included a discussion around the notion of making and skills: what it means to learn a skill and to deskill, the environment we learn in, the groups we learn with and skills we can access both as an amateur and a professional, and a course in butchery lead by a professional butcher who taught herself, the gallery director and the fine art students butchery techniques. She has developed similar projects with the MA in Art and Material Histories at City and Guilds Art School London, NewBridge Projects Gateshead and Goldsmiths College. Also, for the past six years she has been extending her knowledge and experience of the material world, and different mind – hand – material – environment negotiations by participating on skill based courses including fish knife skills, taxidermy, forging, cheese making, dress making, bread making, butchery, basket weaving, glass blowing, pot throwing, fishing and patisserie.

‘Pollute Volute’ is at Howick Place from June to December 2022.