Visual Stimulation

Visual Stimulation

Exploring the relationship between light, colour and the human condition, Liz West produces immersive installations, illuminating faceless, undefined spaces with multi-coloured hues. In the same year that the artist was named a finalist in Aesthetica Art Prize, Our Colour (2016) was featured in the Bristol Biennial, transforming the boundaries, structure and purpose of blank expanses into rainbow-toned worlds. Removing the focus from the harsh, gloomy concrete architecture, refracted light created from vibrant theatre gels are positioned at specific positions within the room, leaving viewers to question the origins of the illumination and the effects of confronting sheer colour. As part of this series, Your Colour Perception further explores the psychological response to intense shades, asking participants to physically step into the spectrum and reason with the emotions which resulted.

After taking part in the Aesthetica Art Prize, Our Spectral Vision (2016) was commissioned by Natural History Museum, London, and featured as part of the Colour and Vision exhibition. By examining the parameters of truth associated with vision, seven vertical elongated boxes of pastel coloured light uncovers how the human eye can only access a fraction of the available spectrum. This work examines how light is usually associated with illumination, yet in reality, a mysterious reality exists beyond individual capabilities of seeing.

This month, the practitioner exhibits a collaborative work at The National Festival of Making, Blackburn. Created in partnership with printing and publishing company Graham & Brown, the piece will examine diversity of material, workforce identities and local heritage. Uniting the artist’s obsession with coloured light and the business’s creation of bespoke wallpaper, West covers a 3.5m high octagonal space with millions of hand-drawn, coloured dots. Taking inspiration from Joseph Alber’s 1963 book Interaction of Colour, the practitioner explores how flat colour is created when a specific mixture of unexpected tones are combined. By selecting six hues from a panel of stained glass, West marks pen dots on a white paper base, experimenting with different variations and layers to finally create a true grey – a shade which is only discernible from a distance.  

Celebrating the emergence of new artistic media and the development of diverse exposure within the arts, Aesthetica Art Prize recognises an array of disciplines, offering entrants the chance to submit to one of four categories: Photography & Digital Media; Three-Dimensional Design & Sculpture; Painting, Drawing & Mixed Media and Video, Installation & Performance. Winners of the Emerging Prize, open to current students and recent graduates, and the Main Prize, open to all, will receive global exposure through an exhibition at York Art Gallery and publication within a popular anthology, £5000 (Main Prize) or £1000 (Emerging Prize) and a arrange of art supplies and books courtesy of Windsor & Newton and Prestel, facilitating further creative development.

Deadline for submissions: 31 August. Find out more:

1. Liz West, Our Colour, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.