Liz West’s work navigates what colours can offer her, across blues, greens, yellows, reds, oranges, and purples. Growing up in South Yorkshire in the 1980s, West states that she “learned colour before she could read”. Her creative path started seated at her own little desk in her mother’s painting studio. She then decided to pursue her fine art education at Leeds Arts University and graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2007. In Scotland, she started exploring the possibilities of site-specific installations. Hypersensitive to her surroundings, West started working by being guided by her senses and haptic interactions with the world. At that time, she also began collecting objects based purely on their colour. Inspired by 1990s pop culture, West operates within the vibrant colour palette and monumental scales of mass media and popular entertainment. Today, the ways in which she relates with her environment involve using visual, auditory and kinesthetic-tactile pathways.
Now based in Manchester, her instinctive pull to certain colours developed into a methodological approach. Always using ready-made colours, West edits them tightly to make her colour prismatic works. Led by a wild and bright imagination, shapes and forms are nevertheless contained in geometric forms.
Her architectural drawings are the first translation of her ideas which then become collaborations with engineers, architects, and fabricators, to find the best materials and best structures. With mirrors, acrylic, polycarbonate or prisms, she sublimates her colourful forms resulting in a spectrum of both natural and artificial lights. West’s works are site-specific, site-responsive, and site conditional but always perform for our perceptions and sensations. The artist has been associated with numerous major institutions, exhibitions, installations, and projects throughout her career, including Tate Britain, the National Media Museum, the Natural History Museum, and her participation in the Lumiere London festival. She has created monumental size public art sculptures, such as the Hundreds and Thousands installation for Greenwich Peninsula, which 700 metres of the walkway’s glass balustrades, creating a ribbon of undulating colour.
Led by the idea that we need dynamic colours in grey cities, her work creates an environment that people can both observe and experience , perceive, experience and walk into. A public offering of her appreciation of life’s most simple and beautiful elements. With light and colour, West filters daily urban life into great moments of delight and wonder.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
‘Hymn to the Big Wheel’, Metropolis at Metrotown, Vancouver, Canada
‘Hymn to the Big Wheel’, Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham
‘Our Spectral Vision’, Trencherfield Mill & Our Colour Reflection, Wigan, UK.
‘Pier’, (Light Night Wigan), WiganHymn to the Big Wheel, Manhattan West & Brookfield Place, New York, US.
‘Our Colour Reflection’, Les 3 CHA centre d’art, Châteaugiron, France.
‘Hymn to the Big Wheel (Lumiere)’, Ushaw Historic House & Gardens, Durham, UK.
‘Presence’, Christ Church (Barnaby Festival), Macclesfield, UK.
‘In Physical Reality’, Hyvinkää Art Museum, Finland.
‘Through No.3’, Duke of York Square (Kensington + Chelsea Art Week), London, UK.
‘Colour-ways: Light works by Liz West’, The Wilson, Cheltenham, UK.
‘Our Colour Reflection’, Bangalore International Centre (Bengaluru By Design), Bangalore, India.
‘Dans la Lumière’, Beaulieu-en-Rouergue Abbey, France.
‘Live Colour’, Clerkenwell Design Week, London, UK.
‘Aglow’, Piazza Belgioioso, Milan, Italy.
‘Our Colour Reflection’, St Albans Museum + Gallery, St Albans, UK.
‘Colour Field’, The Civic, Barnsley, UK.
‘Aglow’, Dubai Design District, Dubai, UAE.
‘Aglow’, Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris, France.
‘Our Colour Reflection’, Chester Cathedral, Chester, UK.
‘Autumn Lights’, Little Moreton Hall, National Trust, Cheshire, UK.
‘Our Colour’, Pithay Studios, Bristol Biennial, Bristol, UK.
‘Solstice Ritual’, Penarth Pier Pavilion, Penarth, UK.
‘Our Colour Reflection’, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe; St. Marks Church London and Broadgate London, UK.
‘Zenith Blue + Primary Red’, ARCADECARDIFF, Cardiff, UK.
‘The Light Room – Your Colour Perception’, The Willis Museum, Basingstoke, uk.
‘Through’, &model, Leeds, UK.
‘Your Colour Perception’, Federation House, Castlefield Gallery New Art Spaces, Manchester, UK.
‘On Brown & Violet Grounds’, Piccadilly Place/Rogue Artists’ Studios, Manchester, UK.
‘Chroma’, BLANKSPACE Gallery, Manchester, UK.
Selected Group Exhibitions
‘Collected Light’, Cascina Cuccagna, Milan, Italy
‘KK Trove’, SqW: Lab, Mumbai, India.
‘People You Love’, MTArt Agency x UBP, Monaco, France.
‘Colors’, Tripostal, Lille, France.
‘The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition’, Online.
‘Luce’, Daniel Benjamin Gallery, London, UK.
‘Huetopia’, Noho Studios, London, UK.
‘Abstract Allies’, Zuleika Gallery, London, UK.
‘Colour Snap’, Art and Design Gallery, University of Hertfordshire, UK.
‘Perspective Playground’, Kraftwerk, Berlin, Germany.
‘Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception’, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, UK.
‘Drawing for Sculpture’, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, UK.
‘Winter Lights Festival’, Canary Wharf, London, UK.
‘Colour Wheel’, Vernon Street Gallery, Leeds Arts University, Leeds, UK.
Aesthetica Art Prize, York St Mary’s, York, UK.
Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary Award Exhibition, Royal British Society of Sculptors, London, UK.
‘Light Fantastic’, National Science and Media Museum, Bradford, UK.
‘Unnatural Pleasures’, Radiant Gallery, Plymouth, UK.
‘Synthesis’, Victoria Warehouse Hotel (part of Manchester Science Festival), Manchester, UK.
‘Four’, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK.
World Event Young Artists, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, UK.
‘Still Here’, Untitled BCN, Barcelona, Spain.
‘The Tomorrow People’, Elevator Gallery, London, UK.
‘At Play 3’, South Hill Park, Bracknell, UK.
‘Colour, Beldam Gallery’, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK.
The Title Art Prize, Manchester, UK (shortlisted).
Woolgather Art Prize, Leeds, UK (shortlisted).
‘Expectations’, The Invisible Dog, New York, US.
Deptford X, Core Gallery, London, UK.
Collagerie, Stew Gallery, Norwich, UK.
Celeste International Art Prize, New York, US.
Northern Futures Awards, Barnsley (winner People’s Choice Award), UK.
The National Open Art Competition, Chichester, UK.
Selected Commissions and Awards
Westfield Rosny 2, Rosny-sous-Bois, France.
Zigazig, Guy’s Hospital, London, UK.
Align, Museum of Broadway, New York, US.
Gradient Remix, Color Factory, Chicago, US.
Winner, Judges’ Choice: Art, Women In Lighting, The WIL Awards.
Surround In, Kong, Coventry; Commissioned by The Show Windows in partnership with Coventry City of Culture Trust, Coventry, UK.
Drop Scene; Millburngate, Durham; Commissioned by Artichoke Trust, UK.
Slow Revolution, Greengate, Salford; Commissioned by Salford City Council, UK.
Through No.4, MediaCityUK, Salford; Commissioned by Quays Culture, UK.
Hymn to the Big Wheel, Canary Wharf, London; Commissioned by Canary Wharf, UK.
Hundreds and Thousands, The Tide, London; Commissioned by Greenwich Peninsula, UK.
Our Melody Unwound, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool; Commissioned by The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity, UK.
Iri-Descent, Fortnum and Mason, London; Commissioned by London Design Festival, UK.
Swathe, Browns East, London; Commissioned by Browns Fashion, UK.
ITV Ident (May 13 – 19); Commissioned by ITV Creative, UK.
Aglow, Musée Nissim de Camondo in Paris, Dubai Design District in UAE and Piazza Belgioioso in Milan; Commissioned by Nemozena.
Colour Transfer, Paddington Central, London; Commissioned by British Land, UK.
A Subjective Mix, The National Festival of Making, The Exchange, Blackburn; Commissioned by Super Slow Way & Deco Publique.
Sevenfold, Bury; Commissioned by The Met Theatre
Our Spectral Vision, Colour and Vision: Through the Eyes of Nature Exhibition, London; Commissioned by Natural History Museum, UK.
Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts Award
Through No.3, Spinningfields, Manchester; Commissioned by Castlefield Gallery and Allied London, UK.
An Additive Mix, Light Fantastic Exhibition, National Media Museum, Bradford; Commissioned by Science Museum London, UK.
Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts Award
Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts Award
Selected Press and Publications
Collected Light Volume One: Women Light Artists, Light Collective, 2023, ISBN: 978-1739141615
MIX Magazine, Issue 55, Autumn Winter 2020/21
Ljuskultur Magazine, March 2019
Architectural Digest Middle East Magazine, February 2019
One Artist, One Material: Fifty-five makers on their medium, Frame Publishers, 2018, ISBN: 978-9492311276
New Media Installation, Gingko Press, 2018, ISBN: 978-1584237181
Lust for Light – Illuminated Works by Hannah Stouffer, Gingko Press, 2018, ISBN: 978-1584236818
The Magazine, Yorkshire Post, 18 November 2018
The World of Interiors Magazine, August 2017
Mondo Magazine, Issue 96, February/March 2017
Emboss Magazine, Issue 6 (USA), 2017
IW Magazine, January (China), 2017
Design Magazine, January (South Korea), 2017
Professional Lighting Design Magazine, No. 103, November/December 2016
One Artist / One Material, FRAME Magazine, November/December, 2016
Lumitecture: Illuminating Interiors for Designers and Architects by Anna Yudina, Thames & Hudson, 2016, ISBN: 978-0500518342
Lumière : La lumière dans l’art contemporain by Céline Delavaux, Palette, 2015, ISBN: 978-2358321952
Frame Magazine, November/December 2015
Mondo*Arc Magazine, Issue 87, October/November 2015
Lighting Magazine: Illumination in Architecture, Volume 47 Issue 5, October 2015
Professional Lighting Design Magazine, No.99, September/October 2015
Mondo*Arc Magazine, Issue 86, August/September 2015
Work on the Line (Artist Book Collaboration with David Penny), 2015 Professional Lighting Design Magazine, No.97, March/April 2015
Professional Lighting Design Magazine, No.97, March/April 2015
Interior|Fashion Magazine (Germany), 2015
Hi Home Magazine (Russia), 2015
Frame Magazine, May/June 2015
In The City, Hanover Project/Victoria Lucas, 2014. ISBN: 978-0993036217
Reunion: The Dallas Review, University of Texas, 2014. ISSN: 2160-2190
Constructing my Survival, EDGECondition, Art & Architecture, vol.3, September 2014
The Language of Mixed Media Sculpture by Jac Scott, The Crowood Press Ltd, 2014. ISBN: 978-1847977212
Exeter Living, Issue 154, March 2014
The Big Issue, Issue 962, 21 January 2013
Independent on Sunday, 26 August 2012
Chroma (exhibition catalogue), Kroma Press, 2012. ISBN: 978-0956768513
The Title Art Prize (exhibition catalogue), 2011
Woolgather Art Prize (exhibition catalogue), East Street Arts, 2011. ISBN: 978- 1906470081
Celeste Art Prize ( exhibition catalogue), Zel Edizioni, 2010. ISBN: 978- 8896600238
Expectations New York/Berlin (exhibition catalogue) Zel Edizioni, 2010. ISBN: 978- 889660028336EXP. (exhibition catalogue), 2010
A Moving Exhibition (exhibition catalogue), 2010. ISBN: 978-1445770680
Talent of the First Degree, Jack Mottram, The Herald, 15 June 2007. ISSN 1671- 339
Theater, Dance & Media Course, Harvard University, USA/Online, 13 October
Arup, Manchester, 26 September
Colour Beyond Aesthetic, Clerkenwell Design Week, London, 26 May
Light Art Symposium, Light and Energy Research Center, Chile (Online), 17 May
Guiding Lights Conversations, The Department of Physics and the London Institute for Advanced Light Technologies (LIALT), King’s College London + Science Gallery London, 16 May
SHIFT Mentoring Program 2022, Finnish Art Agency, Finland (Online), 4 May
Birmingham Design Festival, Online, 19 August
Barnaby Festival, Christ Church, Macclesfield, 26 June
Colour Talk, The Interdisciplinary Colour Association Belgium (ICA-Belgium), Online, 23 May
How To Be Brilliant At Celebrating Colour, Institution of Lighting Professionals, Online, 10 May
Lighting Design Course, Boston College, USA/Online, 19 April
International Creative Business Basics Course, The University of the Arts, Helsinki/Online, 14 April
Colour Illuminated: Liz West in Conversation with Kaia Charles, Online, 6 April
Iridescence Day, Colour Group (GB), Online, 3 February
Reflections – Halo Artist Panel, Hyvinkää Art Museum, Finland, 30 October
Bridget Riley: Painting and Perception, Southbank Centre, London, 18 January
Istanbul Light, Turkey, 20 September
Clerkenwell Design Week, London, 23 May
Domus Clerkenwell, London, 21 May
Milan Design Week, Zona K, Milan, 9 April
Stockholm, Sweden, 12 February
Battersea Power Station West, London, 16 January
Science Museum Lates, London, 28 November
The Civic, Barnsley, 27 October
Chester Cathedral, Chester, 27 February
Super/collider presents, Second Home, London, 20 February
Lysets Dag, Oslo, Norway, 22 November
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, 8 March
Broadgate Welcome Centre, Broadgate (British Land), 8 February
University of South Wales, Pontypridd Campus, Treforest, 2 February
University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, 18 January
Good Morning House, Suwon, South Korea 16 November
UK Young Artists National Festival, University of Derby, Derby, 4 November
IALD Enlighten Americas at Sheraton Convention Center, Mexico, 14 October
Lysets Dag at Dansk Center for Lys, Copenhagen, Denmark, 7 October
IALD Lighting Perspectives at Light+Building, Frankfurt, Germany,14 March
BDP, London, 14 January
LightspacedotLondon at Lux Live, Excel Centre, London, 18 November
Nourishment, Roots and Wings, Hull, 30 July
BDP, Manchester, 15 April
Cornerhouse, Manchester, 17 May
Future City Series, The University of Salford & Quays Culture, 2 April
Follow Liz West on Instagram@lizweststudio