27 May – 24 June 2017
Studio Gallery, Penwith Gallery, St. Ives, Cornwall
Lisa Traxler, Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) & National Acrylic Painters Association (NAPA) is a contemporary visual artist, living and working in Britain. She combines painting and 3D form responding to landscape and architectural spaces.
BUILD is Traxler’s most recent body of work reacting to a specific historical site, a former WWII radar bunker on the Isle of Wight. Holding a great deal of significance to the Island’s heritage community, the bunker was the former Royal Air Force radar station, ideally positioned to monitor the south coast of Britain during WWII as part of the Chain Home network. Located on the south of the island it overlooks the wild and rugged open coastline where Traxler’s studio is also based. After its service, from 1941 until it became non-operational in 1947, the radar bunker was left to deteriorate and became derelict.
In BUILD, Traxler creates an environmental autobiography – a sense of self and place intimately connected.The territory around the bunker is undulating and restless, ragged outcrops of gorse alongside craggy, weatherworn stone pushing through the land. The bunker itself has settled into this terrain, silent and forgotten as the undergrowth cloaked the brutalist structure concealing this symbolic reference to frontline protection during the war.
Traxler plays with the notions of encrypted communication between landscape and architectural space utilising the durable material steel more commonly used in construction to investigate this decryption puzzle.
Heavy with this echo of history the geometric shapes within Traxler’s steel structures look to have been lifted from the blueprint of a technical drawing documenting a secret architectural design. Lightly interlocking and carefully constructed,these fragmented compositions are slotted together, each piece interacting with its neighbour. The cut edges of the steel function as lines in space interplaying with the mark making on the surface. The shattered composition of shape and form create interference and interruption misleading the eye and causing a sense of unease within the light reflective inky black base enamel and shards of applied colour. This cryptographic drawing referencing dazzle camouflage and radar, the hidden messages of warfare.
These eight vitreous enamel and steel constructions are titled The Beauty Chorus, borrowed from the unofficial name given to the bank of contrasting coloured secret telephones linking Churchill’s underground headquarters at Whitehall to control rooms around the nation intercepting information and scrambling messages. It also honours the female pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) also known informally as the Beauty Chorus during WWII.
Lisa Traxler was born in London and studied at Croydon Art College and Birmingham Polytechnic, graduating with a B.A Hons degree in Fashion & Textiles.
Recent selected exhibitions include the Royal Watercolour Society Contemporary at Bankside Gallery, ING Discerning Eye at Mall Galleries, Royal College of Art, Cork Street, the Crypt Gallery, St. Ives, the Bath Society of Artists, the London Design Festival 2016 & 2017, Palazzo Ca' Zanardi, Venice, Italy (2016) the Greenhouse Berlin, Germany (2017) and 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Yorkshire (2017). Awards include ProArte Award (2014), Colart Award (2012) Golden Award (2010) for her paintings at the NAPA National Exhibitions, The Crypt Gallery, St. Ives. Published in Aesthetica Creative Art Award Annual (2012)
Traxler’s major exhibition Lives of Spaces West Gallery, Quay Arts (2011) consisted of four large-scale (2.5 metre high) steel and vitreous enamel sculptures, part of which toured to the ExCel London and now reside in a sculpture park in the Isle of Wight.
Recent public art commissions include a large scale (10 x 10 metre) site specific PAPERSCAPE installation in the entrance atrium of the Affordable Art Fair, Battersea as part of Platform Projects (2017). Previous commissions also include the multi panelled enamel and steel wall mural in the entrance foyer to the Art & Design College, Stourbridge, West Midlands (2011). An enamel and steel triptych situated in the double height space of the entrance foyer of Vestas Technology Centre, IW (2011), and a multi-panelled folding wall at Briddlesford Education Centre, IW (2010).
All the vitreous enamel on steel works are hand painted by Traxler and fabricated by A.J. Wells & Sons in Newport, Isle of Wight.
The exhibition BUILD tours from the Penwith Gallery, St. Ives (26 May - 24 June 2017) to Surface Matter Architectural Studio, Hackney, London (16 September - 14 October 2017) to the Radar Bunker, St. Lawrence, IW (October 2017)
BUILD in conjunction with Surface Matter will be part of the London Design Festival, 16 - 24 September 2017
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, www.lisatraxler.com