Liz West, whose use of light and colour to create installations that transform space recently saw her shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2016, has created one of her most ambitious works to date at Lincolnshire’s 20-21 Visual Arts Centre. West has made use of the gallery’s architecture, which is housed in the neo-Gothic former St John’s Church in Scunthorpe, and infused it with inspiration drawn from the idea of stained glass.
Rather than using her own light sources, West employs hundreds of mirrors to reflect the gallery lighting into the roof space, projecting a flood of colour into the historic interior. Viewers entering this transformed environment will also find themselves part of it as they see themselves reflected in the myriad mirror surfaces, creating an exchange between themselves, the artwork and the building.
Art writer Francis Pearce notes: “Taking time to research and consider the history of the building and the weight of connotations it holds as a former place of worship, West has thought about stained glass and the importance of light within the space. Viewers will each have their own perspectives and their own experiences tempered by movement through the space and through time. By going unplugged here, West emphasises that while artificial light can be manipulated it can only, at best, replicate the dynamism, shifting mood and changes in quality embodied in natural light.”
In this piece, as in all her work, West provokes a heightened sensory awareness in the viewer, tapping into our deeply entrenched relationship with colour, and exploring how it can move viewers, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
This installation follows on from previous large-scale works including Your Colour Perception, which had visitors returning to Manchester’s Federation House to witness the space saturated in colour, and her acclaimed installation An Additive Mix at the National Media Museum in Bradford. She was recently granted a Bursary Award from the Royal Society of British Sculptors, and completed a major public-realm commission in the Spinningfields district of Manchester.
Liz West, Our Colour Reflection, until 25 June, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Church Square Scunthorpe North Lincolnshire, DN15 6TB.
See more of the artist’s work: www.liz-west.com.
Visit the gallery’s website: www.2021visualartscentre.co.uk.
1. Liz West, Our Colour Reflection, 2016. Image: Hannah Devereux.