Liz West is an artist fascinated with light and colour, the two mediums that she considers inextricably connected and which she uses as primary themes and materials for her work. In her recent art installation Our Colour, which was presented at Bristol Biennial, Liz explored the relation between light and colour to create sensory experiences that evoke emotional and physical responses. The installation immersed the visitors in a rich spectrum of hues, allowing them to experience what it might be like to walk through a rainbow.
Our Colour transformed the entire floor of an office building in Bristol into a multi-coloured space by covering pre-existing harsh fluorescent lamps with 19 different e-colour+ filters that transitioned gradually from deep violet to vibrant red. “I was looking for the brightest, most saturated colours when flicking through the e-colour+ swatch book. It was important for me to have availability to a huge range of coloured filters in order to best decide which colour should follow onto the next, resulting in an even spatial gradient when applied over the office fluorescent lighting.”
West’s immersive light installation explored human visual perception and how colour affects our emotions and our bodies. As she watched people interact inside the space, Liz found that “most people rarely have the experience of being completely immersed in pure colour.” She observed that “after moving through the space – walking, running, dancing – and experiencing every colour, people would often go back to the colour they find most comfortable; they will then stand, sit or lay there for some time to reflect.”
“A lot of contemporary art today makes people think,” Liz observed. “With my work, I want people to feel!” – and she achieved this with Our Colour. Comments from many excited visitors illustrated the emotional responses the exhibition evoked during their experience:
“There was no need to think – or overthink…just feel.”
“It was such a pleasure to be completely awash in colour. I noted that I felt most happy in the pink-lit section of the vast room. I felt hopeful, giddy and playful.”
“The closest thing to walking through a rainbow.”
“The kids blaze through each hue without thought…as if they think they are literally flying through the colours.”
When asked what she thought about the outcome of the exhibition, Liz replied: “I am very proud of this exhibition and am delighted with the feedback that I received from visitors and people seeing images of the work online. On the last day of the exhibition alone – over 3800 people came to observe their colour perception, which meant there was a queue to get into the exhibition. Our Colour really struck a cord with so many people of all ages and backgrounds. I believe this is because colour and light are universal and go beyond language. The installation and feedback went above and beyond my expectations and objectives. Using Rosco filters allowed me to refine my ideas and present the best possible outcome.”
Liz West lives and works in Manchester, England and has exhibited art nationally and internationally, including major commissions for National Trust, Natural History Museum, National Media Museum and Olympic British House Rio. To learn more about Liz West’s work visit her website: http://www.liz-west.com/.
To immerse yourself in Rosco’s entire spectrum of colour filters, explore Rosco’s myColor web app. While you’re there, you can search, compare, sort and save all of Our Colours and make them Your Colours.