Bright lights, piles of rubbish, and shadowy figures characterize urban centers; they are also the primary elements in the art of the British team Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Since their 1996 London solo exhibition, “British Rubbish,” Noble and Webster have created a thoughtful body of work addressing traditional concerns of sculpture.
The artists integrate satire and punk strategies with the study of modern sculpture and a keen awareness of the self-importance of the London art scene. Responding to the media hype of the British art world, Noble and Webster find inspiration in pop culture and advertising, creating brilliant animated light displays, or illuminations, such as the fountain and dollar sign in this exhibition. By contrast, their “rubbish,” or shadow sculptures, are brought to life when a simple light is projected over a carefully arranged pile of domestic garbage. “Tim Noble & Sue Webster” explores the team’s mature work, including seven examples of illuminations, shadow sculptures, and their latest neon forms: a boy/girl couple covered with streetwise slang.
Alternately bright and blatant, dark and seductive, Noble and Webster portray themselves and the world around them in a smart, romanticized, yet unpretentious style.