Richard William Wheater is British artist that regularly works with glass and neon through performance and installation. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art, Alfred University USA and the University of Sunderland. Wheater gained notoriety for an ambitious project in 2008 titled ‘Them and Us’. Touring the UK with his mobile furnace he hot sculpted indigenous glass birds in their natural habitat, he then released them into the air in a ritualistic act, which both freed and destroyed them. An artist/performer committed to the act of making and the science of materials, his work is also ephemeral transitory art, involving place and people.
Richard’s own work has sought to think about neon as material rather than as sign. Trained as a glass maker, he founded Neon Workshops in 2008 to provide an artist friendly service for artists, and also to change a situation where most neon work in galleries is text commissioned from commercial sign makers. At the workshop, however, Richard works with skilled neon makers such as Julia Bickerstaff, who make the lettering. The proposal for Neon Lights would be Richard in the gallery for two weeks, doing everything himself. A neon installation by an artist poised between skilled professional and beginner.
In recent years an in-depth study of neon has involved equally image and media aware events such as ‘12 months of neon love’, in which a highly visible neon bill board announced declarations of love, lines from popular songs which changed once a month. Other neon works made and put into action with groups of people aim to unite people with landscape as did his recent ‘Land to Sea’ project. Installations have been both site specific and gallery based. Wheater might start with making an object but it extends further. As a communicator, designer and artist he wants clarity and accessibility in the medium. He is highly qualified in glass making, art and teaching.
Richard William Wheater currently lives and works in Wakefield, UK.