Master of Plaster // Rachel Whiteread
Rachel Whiteread studied painting at Brighton Polytechnic and sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art. Using plaster, rubber and resin, she makes sculptures of the spaces in, under and on everyday objects. Her work operates on many levels. It captures and gives materiality to the sometimes unfamiliar spaces of familiar life (bath, sink, mattress or chair), transforming the domestic into the public; it fossilises everyday objects in the absence of human usage and it allows those objects to stand anthropomorphically for human beings themselves.
Her choice of subject-matter reflects an awareness of the intrinsically human-scaled design of the objects with which we surround ourselves and exploits the severing of this connection, by removal of the object's function, to express absence and loss. Her early work allowed autobiographical elements. Later works move towards the expression of a universal human position, and their titles become correspondingly more prosaic.
She won the Turner Prize in 1993.
She lives and works in London.
Photography: Courtsey of Tate.org, Gagosian Gallery