Laura White’s art 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 the physical environments which are increasingly indistinguishable. 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. White’s works occupy a fluid space, on one hand demanding critical discourse, and on the other their own ambiguous and intuitive logic.
It is important for her to explore as the maker, to communicate to the viewer a material engagement, where the works can suggest a human physical interaction, such as an object that can be used, yet is unfamiliar or un-recognisable. For example, works manifesting as objects with handles/protrusions inviting human interaction, while undermining the action – what it will do and to what end. Materials are pushed and challenged in many different ways, 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.
White’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 (Tenderfoot.co.uk 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 presentation about her practice with 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. This was followed by 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 and fishing.