Rita McBride was born in Des Moines in 1960. She lives and works between Los Angeles and Dusseldorf.
Many people consider Rita McBride a sculptress, and if indeed she has produced many objects, it is also true that often the shapes and objects that she introduces in her practice are already part of our world but are often overlooked. The artist transforms the typical materials they are made of or changes their scale to explore the tensions between their functionalism and their formalism. She is always interested in things that are losing their original function, fascinated by the moment in which the object, still intact and recognizable for what it is, is about to become something else. Rita McBride’s practice looks specifically for these changes in time, where things are liberated from their function and can thus be reconsidered aesthetically, or critically, or socially. Nonetheless, McBride’s work does not mainly address objects as such. On the contrary, these become tools for creating and exploring in depth situations that arise from the interaction between human beings and the objects themselves, including performance and text, as well as actions and fictions that occur with and around objects.
The specific relation of McBride’s art can be summed up as design, architecture, and public space. The synthesis of sculptural objects and other artistic media – a synthesis that often involves a relationship between structure and events – is a general feature of McBride’s work.
Design, architecture and public space are also essential elements in the artist's research.
The majority of her works, after her popular piece “Arena” was presented for the first time in 1997, are inspired by the possibility of being “activated”, and almost all her exhibitions feature printed material that direct the visitors toward an activity planned by the artist which requires an active participation of the public to the piece. Another central factor of her practice is the intensive communication with other artists, both from her own and from other artistic fields. In all of McBride’s works there is a common trait in a strong awareness of the public dimension in today’s world, requiring an equally strong public participation in significant aspects of the contemporary artistic reflection.