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Beth Emily Richards

Residency Artist 2017


Residency dates 6 November - 15 December 2017

Beth Emily Richards is an artist and researcher based in Plymouth. Her work investigates contemporary mythmaking, often exploring popular culture and its associated idiosyncratic subcultures. Frequently the work seeks to complicate macho narratives by re-performing them in ways that use absurdism and failure to undermine dominant histories. Past works have engaged with personae such as Harry Houdini, Robert Falcon Scott, Francis Drake, Arnold Schwarzenegger and William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody;; as well as with social trends such as ‘tombstoning’ (teenagers jumping off cliffs into the sea), Mexican telenovelas, ‘80-‘90s action films, roller derby girls, Western movies, scouting, and motivational speaking. Her work addresses the veracity of the archive, particularly the role of lens-based media and documentation in live artworks. Using photographs, text, events, video, sounds and props, Richards destabilises histories using strategies such as change of scale or failure to disrupt expectations and hegemonies in a playful way. Her re-enactments ask questions about authenticity and manipulate the malleability of meaning constructed by archival material (in its broadest sense).

Working with others is central to Beth’s practice, which frequently involves collaborating with location-based or interest-based communities. During her time at Standpoint Futures she will be consolidating and expanding upon a group of occult enthusiasts and experts with whom she has been attending workshops responding to the life and work of Ithell Colquhoun, a surrealist artist, writer and occultist who worked in Cornwall in the mid-twentieth century. Beth’s new body of work not only responds to Colquhoun’s creative output and divinatory practices, but to the experience of working with a diverse group of artists, writers and magical practitioners, and forming a temporary community with them. The most developed work within this project is ‘Stones that whisper, stones that dance, stones that march as an army’, a collaborative sound piece investigating walking, mythogeography and archaeoacoustics in megalithic sites.

Beth Richards lives and works in Plymouth, and is currently a PhD Candidate at Plymouth University where she completed an MRes in Theatre and performance in 2014 after graduating with a BA in Photography from Camberwell College of Arts in 2009. She has exhibited throughout the South West including at Exeter Phoenix, TOPOS, Fringe Arts Bath, Exchange Penzance, Plymouth Art Weekender and the Arnolfini. Further afield she has shown at Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff and SOMA Mexico.