Whether nestling an iridescent tunnel inside a Georgian-style church or encircling a concrete walkway with multicolor ribbons, Liz West transforms whatever space she approaches into a dynamic field of kaleidoscopic light and shadow. The prolific British artist (previously) is known for her large-scale pieces that use reflection and refraction to create dazzling immersive environments. Often utilizing translucent panels and a combination of natural light and LEDs, West’s intention is to enhance sensory awareness, showing the potential the full spectrum of color has to impact both psychological and physical reactions.
On view through August 12 at Canary Wharf in London, “Hymn to the Big Wheel” (shown above) is an architectural installation comprised of two concentric octagons that cast layered jewel-toned shadows depending on the viewer’s position. The piece draws its name from Massive Attack’s “Hymn Of The Big Wheel” and has what West calls a “sun-dial effect” that changes how the light streams through the panels depending on the time of day.
Other recent projects include “Aglow,” which arranged 169 fluorescent bowls in a hexagon outside of the Musee Nissim de Camondo in Paris. The individual elements were designed to catch rainfall, which once pooled in the base, added an extra layer of color and illusion to the patterned grouping. Similarly deceptive is West’s 2021 piece titled “Presence” at Christ Church in Macclesfield, which produced an obscured and prismatic path through the historic site that presented the existing architecture through the lens of colorful panels.
West is currently working on two permanent installations launching in August and September in Salford, while “Hundreds and Thousands” (shown below) will be taken down this fall. You can follow her vibrant constructions on her site and Instagram.