Richard Howell is an artist who lives and works in Wincanton, Somerset. He tells stories through his minutely detailed sculptures - intricate wire forms incorporating made or found materials, such as World War II aviation relics, shards of broken studio pottery and other fragments recalling people and places. Sometimes these narratives are highly personal, while at other times they relate to shared histories. Together they reveal his many fascinations, from the vestiges of war to 1970s music, as well as the work of contemporary artists and craftspeople.
A collector himself, Richard makes groups of sculptures on his varied interests. Often his works take the form of reliquaries: delicate handmade wire cases that looks like they have been woven together with gold thread (in reality, brass and copper). He places his fragments inside them, as if he is literally suspending their stories in time, preserving them for future generations. The viewer can interpret these tales in their own way, joining the dots between the objects.
Richard's largest body of work, however, is his ongoing Aviation Project, a series that began when an old friend gave him a fragment of a Whitley bomber place downed during World War II in Dorset. Later the friend gifted him a vast trove of relics of fallen fighter planes collected from various crash sites, which Richard memorialises inside sweeping metal forms - sometimes abstract and sometimes recognisable, recalling airplane wings and turbines. He hangs the relics from invisible cords, making them airborne again.
The artist's work has been exhibited widely by galleries including Anthony Hepworth Fine Art in Bath, Hauser & Wirth Somerset and jaggedart in London.
Malaika Byng, 2020.
'Richard's work are intensely detailed, witty, tranquil distillations of both earthly matters and matters spiritual and celestial. They rivet, absorb, uplift and satisfy' - Irene Waller, the late textile artist.