Construction Project Day #20

Today I unplugged my lights… and it wasn’t a disaster!

After seeing the work of fellow North-West based artist Joe Fletcher Orr some time ago (based in Liverpool at the Royal Standard), I had been inspired to take a different approach to elements of my own practice, especially in the use of light. He has made works with light previously as well as without; referencing colour and the use of found objects in space.

Within my Construction project, like with Joe’s work, I am positioning objects (always found in my studio environment) and making new forms and arrangements from them.

Last year when I was about to embark on a six-month funded period of new work, I turned to the new work of my old fav David Batchelor and his works-on-paper, in order to inspire new methods of working. This in turn helped me produce a body of work that started out similar to his, but the final outcome was not. I am always looking for inspiration, this time it comes from Joe.

For this work I thought about the illusion of paint on the wall as if being light from behind a sheet of paper. This paper was propped to the wall with a length of found timber. The tension between the ‘paper’ and the timber was tangible, but playful at the same time.

Later on in the day I attempted to use other lengths against the wall including rolled paper (which offered an addition fragility to the work) and light bulbs (a reference to the illusion of coloured light saturation from behind the paper on the wall).

Without the use of light, the future of my work has some great possibilities in terms of considering what shapes and objects could/would convey when thinking about my interests in the purity of colour.


Construction Project Day #19

I built a den!

With the intention of using no lighting element within this work, I built a cotton ‘shape’ within my space. I would have preferred it to have been a perfect cube with stretched ‘walls’ and a beautifully fabricated frame, but then again I wish for a lot of things. I wish for:

1. the income of Anish Kapoor

2. the studio of Olafur Eliasson

3. the interlect of David Batchelor

4. the craftsmanship of Thomas Demand

5. the home of Damien Hirst (complete with his shaker chairs…)

In the end I learned that wishing does me no good, at all. I have what I have. I have nice things a lot of other artists would wish for:

1. no other ‘job’

2. I make a (below-standard) living from my art practice

3. I have a lovely home in Didsbury (ah hem..Withington), Manchester

4. I live in a creative, vibrant city

5. I exhibit regularly

6. I am not currently facing a ‘wall’

7. I currently have a vanilla sponge cake baking in the oven

etc, etc, etc

Sorry, I am getting carried away!

The aim for this work was to be able to see the brightly coloured objects radiating their colourfulness through the cotton fabric. This was partly achieved. However, the addition of a single florescent sticklight made the subtle coloured hue so much better.

As with previous days, I pushed myself a little further and played around with the work after its initial arrangement.

I cut holes in the (not-so-taught) fabric to allow more light and colour to radiate. This brought interesting visuals and the work changed as a result. I preferred the hole-ridden version, I liked the circles on the floor (the positive and negative imprints).

At the end of the day, I was productive. I shall now go and eat my cake and shut up!


Construction Project Day #18

Day 18 was full of doubt and uncertainty. After discussing my ideas (up to this point) at the weekend it seemed a hindrance, rather than helping me, it had halted my thinking. Each new idea that came into my head either didn’t seem good enough as if it wasn’t going to successful, so I though ‘what was the point in making it!’

I had to pull myself together and just do it anyway. After a bucket of tea and some lunch I quickly constructed this tower of gleaming perspex sitting on a giant mirror, stacked using the closest thing to hand: spray cans.

As a suspected, I am not instantly drawn to this aesthetically or conceptually. The formal arrangement is sculptural (a merit), but the colours I had available aren’t the right combination and the spray cans bring too much content.

The elements I do think work, however, are the edges of the coloured perspex which glow. These lines are the success and maybe something I can draw upon at a later date. The double height of the stack is a delight when you lean over into the depth of the mirror; another element I could use again but not in this same formation.

Day 18 was brief.

It taught me more about what I don’t like and what I do like that any other day so far. I have really begun questioning every element of the process, something I was wary of doing before now as I just wanted freedom of thinking and the process to be very playful.

It has got to the point where I want everything I make to get stronger and better than the last piece. There will still be playfulness in the development of work, but I want the construction to regain finesse, amalgamating it into the rest of my pre-exsiting practice.


Later on today I am doing an Artists Talk at Salford Uni/MediaCityUK. Here’s some information about it:

Quays Culture and the University of Salford are delighted to present these thrilling FREE artists’ talks as part of our Future City series from both established international artists Ray Lee and Simon Faithfull, as well as talented local emerging artist Liz West. Artists, students and enthusiasts alike are invited to come along to discuss the various inspirations and themes within the artists’ practice and learn more about the artworks they’re presenting as part of Future City within the intimate surroundings of the University’s conference suite.


Thursday 10 April

5:30pm until 6:30pm

3rd Floor conference room, University of Salford, Media City UK Campus

Liz West is an Associate Member of Mark Devereux Projects and her practice evolves from a response to the psychology of space and colour, utilising the two in a way that is deeply rooted in colour theory and draws parallels with the concept of synaesthesia. Working on a scale and intensity that impacts upon the gallery space, West is deeply influenced by the process of collecting. Her work specifically relates to the desire to gather and assemble objects making subtle or intriguing forms matched by a painter’s sensibility in the use of colour and light.


Construction Project Day #17

On day 17 I wanted to employ as few materials as possible to test a new idea. The configuration of a tripod using three primary coloured sticklights allows for a saturated glow around the whole space and the merging of primary colours into secondary colours on the surrounding walls, etc.

Taking the rules of this construction project to another level, I wanted to do away with the use of any adhesives, instead use the materials themselves to twine and connect themselves. The white electrical cables of the sticklights were perfect fasteners, as I decided to neatly wrap them around the top of the bulbs to create a join.

This joining device was more steady than I had initially thought and held the structure in a firm position all day without the need for any other material.

The three transparent acrylic square sheets placed under each tripod leg acted as both reflective surfaces and colour opponents. They helped highlight the strength of the coloured light and created a alternative type of plinth for the structure to stand on.

Later in the day I also experimented with the notion of using the acrylic sheets as part of the larger structure (placing them as an internal composite). They also held their own weight and held together without the aid of anything else.

This particular piece is simple. It has a fragility because of the materials holding their own weight which in turn creates a tension that I think has been apparent in other successful pieces within my Construction Project.

The light around the space is gentle and not as over powering as in previous works, yet in its subtly it draws attention to elements of the space that otherwise would not be noticed; this is also helped by the reflective acrylic sheets on/balanced on the floor.