Award winning artist Lisa Traxler combines painting and 3D form within her practice exploring associations with construction, assemblage, and components. Her abstract work traverses the two and three dimensional divide linking the disciplines of painting and sculpture.
Working from a converted RAF war-time bunker ( the artist’s studio is located on Isle of Wight) she depicts landscape and architectural spaces, creating an environmental autobiography – a sense of self and place intimately connected.
The ‘Time Traveller’ sculpture series is part of a body of work responding to the former WWII Radar Bunker – the building and its landscape continue to have a deep resonance with the artist, this ‘genius loci’ or ‘spirit of place’ informing recent exhibitions and awards.
Traxler approached Cut Laser Cut to work with her on the laser cut acrylic and hand painted birch ply sculptures winning the Southampton City Art Gallery Open Exhibition in 2020 with ‘Time Traveller – Voyager’. Further sculptures were exhibited in the Bunker Gallery and will continue to tour to London in 2021 at The Foundry Gallery in Chelsea during a solo exhibition Blast Wall.
‘Laser cutting was the precision I needed to translate the maquette I had produced in my studio. These slotted components are a unique set of ‘pattern pieces’ each piece dependent on its neighbour to form the completed sculpture. The implicit influences from my fashion design background are acknowledged through the use of these pattern pieces – encrypted shape and form working in co-dependency to create the outcome.
The limited edition ‘Time Traveller’ sculptures have flame polished edges and the artists signature engraved on each component in matt acrylic and a unique hand painted design and signature on the birch ply edition. A large-scale version is in progress to be exhibited in 2021.’
Traxler says of her architectural inspiration:
‘I was drawn to its history, the structure, its setting in the landscape and the lives it touched.
The bunker had originally been cloaked in a form of camouflage but unable to source this information locally I visited the Imperial War Museum to find out more. I became a frequent visitor to the museum and its research library – and on one of these visits I was distracted by the dazzle camouflage of WW1 originated by maritime artist, Norman Wilkinson.
This shattered and disruptive abstract camouflage was painted onto the exterior of store and naval ships. The intention was to break up the form, confusing the U-boat as to the course, speed, size and direction of the vessel making it difficult to aim at from a distance through a periscope.
It was an intriguing, unusual and brazen idea…and spoke to me of encryption, enigma, unsettled emotions and concealed meanings.
I found the aesthetics of dazzle camouflage alongside the brutalist architecture of the bunker a powerful mix – the two subjects talk of scale and monumentalism in the landscape, added to this the fact that we had started a home build next to the bunker itself and without realising it my art practice had found a rich source of inspiration.’
Traxler has woven a dialogue, part historical, part architectural and her sense of place within both.
Traxler is a Member of Royal Watercolour Society (elected 2015) and Royal Society of Sculptors (elected 2017). She won the Jeff Lowe Sculpture Award at the London Group Open (2019), the Boarhunt Plinth Sculpture Award, Hampshire (2019). Her work has been exhibited in London, Berlin, Venice and Athens and can be found in private and public collections throughout the UK, Hong Kong, New York, Australia and Italy.
Exhibitions for 2021: Arts Council England ‘Dazzle + Disrupt’ Duo Exhibition, West Gallery, Quay Arts, IW (March 2021), ‘Blast Wall’ Solo Exhibition, Foundry Gallery, Chelsea (14th May – 20th June 2021). ‘Island Defence Architecture :Britain’s War defences Then and Now’ Cornwall’s Regimental Museum, Chepstow Museum and Royal Engineers Museum, Kent (2021 dates tbc). Southampton City Art Gallery + Museum Solo Exhibition (2022).
Continuing Summer and Autumn Exhibitions with RWS, Bankside Gallery, London, SW1.
Photography: Julian Winslow