Light Fantastic season celebrates the UNESCO International Year of Light.    

Liz West’s new light installation will take centre stage in a season of free events at the National Media Museum, celebrating the UNESCO International Year of Light.

Manchester-based artist Liz West has been commissioned by the Museum to create a brand new £30,000 installation inspired by the theme. It comprises a purpose-built 10m x 5m room containing approximately 300 coloured fluorescent tubes combined with ‘infinity’ mirrors. Titled An Additive Mix, it takes the principle that white light is composed of different colours of the spectrum (additive colours) and places people in the centre of the phenomenon; saturating them in individual hues that collectively create an intense white glow in a seemingly endless space.

An Additive Mix, which is free to enter and designed to be enjoyed by all ages, builds on themes developed in West’s previous works – most recently the acclaimed Your Colour Perception, which was described as ‘walking through a rainbow’. The new work, West’s largest commission to date, turns this occurrence in natural science on its head; reassembling the diffracted colours of the rainbow and projecting them to ‘infinity’ as visitors explore.

“This is a body of work that I have dreamed of being able to make for a number of years. To be given the opportunity as part of the Museum’s celebration of light is thrilling and very fitting.”

“Artworks I remember seeing as a child are the ones in which I was completely immersed, and that’s what I hope An Additive Mix will achieve: taking people out of the ordinary into the extraordinary, and staying in their memories for a long time.”

Light Fantastic: Adventures in the Science of Light (18 July – 1 November), forms part of the National Media Museum’s Festival of Light. Throughout 2015 the festival, inspired by the UNESCO Year of Light, will be home to exhibits, family activities, a series of contemporary science events, a Lates (late-night opening) and more.


Within physical architectural spaces, and in this work Through, I have used light as a material that radiates outside of its boundaries and containers.

I have playfully refracted light through the several outward facing windows of And Model Gallery in Leeds using translucent, transparent or reflective materials, directing the flow of artificial light.

These ephemeral interventions forge new spaces and environments, by flooding a physical site with a rich mixture of light. This project forms part of a recent series of spatial light works based on my ongoing research into colour theory and light fields.

The saturated light in this work casts sumptuously vivid colour reflections out of its containing space, through the windows, and reflects onto the road below. In the evening the darkness outside raises the strength of the illumination and the colour intensity in the work.

This new work will be in-situ at &Model from 11 March until 29 March 2015. It will be viewable from outside the gallery only. For further details about Through and my future projects please visit www.liz-west.com.


2 – 30 March 2015

Liz West’s new work Subjective Mixtures #1 created in situ for the Bloc Billboard on Jessop Street, Sheffield.

West explores drawing as something not confined to two dimensions. During the creation of her work, whether making arrangements of objects and lights or drawing on paper, she uses elements of composition and arrangement to experiment with colour and space, often creating work is that is harmonious with its surroundings and examines our own deeply entrenched relationships to colour.

West uses light as a material that radiates outside of its boundaries and containers, highlighting its significance within our understanding of colour. Her interventions and installations forge new spaces and environments, in which colour floods a physical site through a rich layering of light or disrupts the flatness of white paper.



The last week has been crazy! I haven’t even had a chance to blog!

On Tuesday (27th Jan) I started installing my new site-specific chromatic light work Your Colour Perception at Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces Federation House on it’s vast fourth floor gallery space. It opened just 3 days later on Friday 30th Jan.

Those three days were hard work, spending the whole time up ladders, wrapping cellulose theatre gels around each individual fluorescent bulb in a huge 5000 square foot space. There were hundreds of them…

I decided to begin with blue at the outwardly facing end of the room, reason being; as the day turns into night there is a 20 minute slot when the sky turns an amazing luminous sapphire. I wanted the work to extend out of the space and into the sky at this special time of day.

After decided which colour (either green or indigo) to continue into, I cracked on with my installation, moving from one colour to the next throughout the entire space, until it was full of chromatic and saturate light.

On Thursday evening I finished install and spent Friday tidying up, and having time to go clothes shopping with my mum.

Your Colour Perception incorporated all 5000 square feet of Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces Federation House fourth floor in Manchester. The work was developed in direct response to the space prior. West reacted to the architectural space using colour and light to create vast immersive installation art.

Within this work, West was interested in the influence and perception of luminous colour in architectural space and on visitors experiencing it. West transformed Federation House into a sensory, visceral experience by overloading it with artificial chromatic light in which to test the psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual responses visitors experience during their encounter.

This work utilises the darkness outside to raise the strength of the illumination and colouration in the work. Using this enormous space to install a light work in the darkest Winter months allowed the colour to bleed with more saturation than if displayed any other time of the year.

At 6pm the doors to the space opened (via a phone number people had a ring on the door downstairs to gain entry into the building) and people started trickling in. A healthy 130 people turned up to my preview and I had some wonderful and meaningful conversations about your colour perception, how it affected people mentally, emotionally, psychically and even spiritually. Other’s seemed to be having similar conversations as well as spending time dancing, walking slowly, running, sitting and meditating in the space.

The work is extremely photogenic – I know that! Visitors started taking photographs of the work (which even looked good on a camera phone) and sending them to their friends, family and sharing on social media. I went to bed that night feeling happy and content, not aware of the success and buzz I had created…

Until… until we were on out way into the space on Saturday. The phone number was still fixed to Federation House outside door and our phone was already ringing with people wanting to get in to see what all the fuss was about. I opened from 2-8pm both Saturday and Sunday, making the most of the darker winter nights.

I should add that normally I am not keen on letting images of my work circulate before the exhibition is over, but on this occasion it helped. People wanted the experience of being inside this magical colour, the opportunity to feel what it might be like to walk around inside a rainbow!

I expected 10 people each day, as is the norm for that type of space. By 8pm we had seen over 80 people come and feel/see/play in my work. People were excited by it.

In the afternoon pop star Miley Cyrus had seen a photo of my new work via someone she knew and had started following me on Instagram and my phone was alight with new followers, something was stirring…

On Sunday the same happened again, phone was ringing on our way in. An unprecedented 160+ people showed up to bask in Your Colour Perception. Gallery people, scientists, families, students, and people of every walk of life traveled from all over the country to see and experience it whilst they still could after seeing pictures of the work on the internet.

On Sunday evening we (me and my husband) started de-installing, it took just 2 hours for it all to be cleared away – mind you, it was a backbreaking and very intense 2 house. We finished our day by indulging in a take away pizza and chips. Perfect!

Since, the work has started to pop up all over the internet, on social media and blogs. People are still asking if its open… sadly its not. Miss it, miss out!

As the title suggests, Your Colour Perception belongs to the audience. It is triggered by the viewer. The work needs people to activate it. It came alive!


As we all try and combat the January blues (again), I find it a useful pick-me-up to reflect on the previous year hoping that it will serve up some interesting revelation.

2014 was a productive year for me; I entered the year being not quite sure what it was going to deliver (the same with any year), but as time passes more and more opportunities raise their head to me.

In January I was trying to focus on my studio practice and hit a massive creative block. I decided that in order to overcome this, I would start a daily project – I nicknamed this ‘The Construction Project’. I would make, document and take apart a new idea every day I visited my studio, I would then write about the work on my blog. This was a hugely useful experience as not only did it get my creative juices flowing again, it also allowed me to practice my writing skills.

At the end of January I installed my work Vanishing Boundaries in The Studios at MediaCityUK as part of Future Cities and Quays Culture Sculpture Series in collaboration with Mark Devereux Projects. During its residency, I gave an artists talk at Salford University; I love doing talks, maybe its because I enjoy what I do, like talking and am comfortable with an audience (I wanted to be a Spice Girls as a youth and a ballerina or actress as a teen – this explains a lot!).

In February I traveled to g39 in Cardiff as co-director of Mark Devereux Projects to take part in an In Conversation as part of the WARP programme. This trip was the first of many, in 2014 I saw more new spaces, met more people and visited more new places that ever before, this can not be a bad thing!

In March my proposal for an exhibition at Exeter Pheonix’ Gallery 333 was successful and I set about fabricating, packing and instructing a new site-specific work to be shown for the month. It was the first time I have shown work in the South-West, I always enjoy hearing the responses of a new audience. As a result, my work was featured on the cover of the regional magazine Exeter Living. In the meantime I clambered on with my Construction Project, blogging daily.

In April I spent a lot of time in the studio and even more time perfecting my writing skills. I was startling to get better and felt more confident.

May brought some sunshine and also my first public outing for a couple of months; I presented my work for Cornerhouse’s Show & Tell event alongside other North-West based practitioners and creatives. It was a fun day, but as always, it went too fast! As well as this, the long-awaited publication featuring my work and written by Jac Scott was released, The Language of Mixed Media Sculpture is an reference book including the work of 28 international artists. Before the Summer kicked off I was also commissioned by Adobe to create a digital artwork to help launch their new version of Creative Cloud.

June and July were a write-off! I indulged myself in a couple of family trips – one of which being my Hen-weekend in Carsingson Village and a week away with my mum in one of my most favourite places in the world: Southwold. My wedding followed in early July and then a honeymoon in Italy. Staying in Limone on Lake Garda and trips to Florence and Verona were culturally and artistically delicious. However, I did manage to slip in one cheeky artistic outing thanks to Turf Projects who commissioned me to make a crazy golf hole for their 9-hole PUTT PUTT #2 extravaganza in Croydon.

As soon as our flight landed at Manchester airport in August my phone was ringing… I had been commissioned by Eden Arts to make a new work for Kendal Calling music festival in Cumbria as part of their Arts Council England funded Woodland Arts Trail. It was a fantastic opportunity to test a new work in the great outdoors. It rained all weekend, the music was good, the pies were even better and the work survived 4 horrendously wet days and nights. Success?

In August I also took part in Bury International Summer School; a wonderful 5 days were spent getting to know great people. I must say that the food was amazing and kept all our minds concentrated throughout. I made some wonderful connections which will hopefully lead to some AMAZING projects this year! Watch this space…

At the end of August and throughout September I helped lead several workshops for LeftCoast in Blackpool. The aim was to share ideas with the great people of Blackpool to illuminate their bikes and dogs for two separate events: Ride The Lights and LumiDogs. I was also commissioned to design and light up loads of bikes for the event in which 10,000 people took to the promenade and ride their bikes underneath the famous Blackpool illuminations. A real spectacle and a privilege to be part of!

In the month I re-made, re-interpreted and installed my Barnaby Festival commission into Sevendale House in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. This is still in situe if anyone wants to catch a glimpse before it comes down in March 2015. I also found some time to move studios from the 2nd floor to the 4th floor at Rogue. Phew!

At the end of September was Rogue Artists’ Studios annual Open Studios event, which was a great success this year with more people attending that ever before. I was put in charge with all the marketing for the event as well as taking the job or Social Media officer for the studio group on a continuing basis. I made a new light installation that filled the whole of my space and allowed me to explore my new home. Thank you everyone who came, it was a great weekend. September was a CRAZY month!

At the Autumn drew in, so did the opportunity to create more light-works. At the beginning of October I took part in Light Night Leeds, where I created a brand new site-specific installation in Leeds Art Gallery. Thousands upon thousands of visitors came and saw the work, a great event to be part of! In October I also had a piece of writing published in online magazine EDGEcondition vol.3 Art & Architecture, have a read if you haven’t already.

Mid-way through October, I took the opportunity to go on my first artist residency to Kurt Schwitters Merz Barn at the Cylinders Estate in Cumbria. I blogged about my experience every day. It was a tough week, as I had, by this point in the year, started to totally pull apart and reassess my practice. The residency acted as a well-timed retreat, where I took time to think, draw plans and read a lot. Thank god I went with friend and fellow-artist Alana Tyson for moral support.

In November I had my work included in Hanover Projects’ In The City publication as well as featuring on the cover and inside The University of Texas publication/journal Reunion: The Dallas Review. I am gathering a nice little collection of books that my work has featured in, they all sit there on my shelf, in date order…

At the end of November I was asked to write a piece for A-N News about the 30th anniversary of Castlefield Gallery. This really tested my writing skills and was a very useful exercise. More of that please? I also did some filming with A-N for a new film they are making about their bloggers, all will be revealed soon!

I installed new work at Airspace Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent for their In The Window space, this allowed me to create another site-responsive work, this time using cellulose acetate and florescent bulbs. A wonderful opportunity to see the development of my practice and the working-up of fresh ideas in the flesh.

To finish off the year with a bang, I was approached by I-D Magazine and Vice Magazine in New York who were/are making a series of documentaries about obsessed collectors. Me being the Guinness World Record holder for having the Largest collection of Spice Girls memorabilia was a perfect subject for one of their films. The filming took place in December and was tiring but fun… not as glamorous as you imagine and involved leather trousers (I will say no more). The mini documentary will be shown in the Spring via online channel Noisey TV.

So, there it is! My 2014. It was a good one personally and professionally. Thanks to everyone who made it so brilliant. x