Current Artists Statement

Artist’s statement – Eloise Barratt

In my work I aim to explore ideas surrounding colour and how in the west, colour is often viewed as a secondary quality under the primary quality of form. These ideas came to light when discovering contemporary artist David Batchelor and his book ‘Chromophobia’ highlighting attitudes towards colour in the west. Firstly colour is regarded as alien and therefore dangerous, often referred to as some sort of foreign body such as the infantile, the primitive, the kitsch, the feminine, the queer, the oriental and the pathological. Colour is seen as a fall from grace, similar to a fall or relapse into drug addiction where a psychedelic world takes over. Secondly, colour is regarded as a secondary quality of experience, and therefore unworthy for serious consideration as it has been relegated to the lowest level of the worlds hierarchy.

My work aims to bring colour out of the dangerous and the trivial, hopefully rendering colour within the realms of the sophisticated and the establishment which it is not currently considered. Using sophisticated scientific understanding on how the eye sees colour and experimentation in colour constancy, colour in contrast and light and dark, can create colours in the eye that are not necessarily true to reality.

I use both ready-made and mixed colours within my artwork alongside coloured light to create an interactive experience of colour.

Beau Lotto

Beau Lotto is a neuro scientist who comducts small social experiments involving colour in contrast, colour correction, colour constancy and augmented reality. You could say his work explores how we see the world and what happens within the eye and the brain when we see, and how we understand and interprete reality. Lotto thinks that colour vision is complex and in no way fragile. We do not just see the colours of objects as they are but as they are useful to us. The eye corrects and fills in colour where it isn’t so that the world makes sense. In fact the eyes peripheral vision does not see colour, only the point of focus and surrounding areas see the colour and fill the grey spaces with the learnt colour. This is unnoticeable as the brain works so quickly to understand the reality it is seeing.

Link to lottos ted talk and website below

Ted talk         Website

Ready Made Colours

After visiting the up cycling centre Re-Create in Cardiff, I had my hands on many ready made coloured materials to start experimenting with. Card, plastics and gels are the materials I picked up. As a preliminary idea I started by just putting up large sheets of the coloured transparent gels. The colours were more vibrant than what they initially looked like on the roll as they were placed in front of a white background and illuminated by the studio lights. After hanging a large strip of yellow, magenta and blue each slightly overlapping each other I then started to place the coloured cards behind and on top of each of the gels. Some of the coloured cards were matt in finish but others were also metallic which gave a reflective quality behind the gels. Playing around with different combinations and the different effects each gel made on each of the coloured cards created some interesting results. The yellow gel being the less opaque or strong colour of the three did not completely over power any colour that was placed behind, however it did make the most dramatic difference in colour. When placing a metallic red sheet behind the gel the most luminous orange came about. However for the blue gel what ever you put behind it, it would just make it a slightly darker blue of the gel, with not much variation of colour when layering.

Ai Weiwei and Tate Britain.

I had the pleasure of having the opportunity to go see the Aiwei Wei exhibition at the royal academy the other week. The exhibition was amazing.

I took this opportunity of being in London to go and see some other artists that have been influential in my artwork. In particular Ben Nicholson. I have been familiar with his work for a while after visiting the Hepworth museum and Tate St Ives. I enjoy the geometric simplicity within his works.

The  3dimentional on a 2d plane casts small shadows revealing a greater sense of depth.

Richard Smith – piano

Marie Lund – load
Ben Nicholson
Rallou panagiotou – your voice my earring.

Mary Martin – expanding form

Ai Weiwei – crystal

Gap Crit.

In my gap crit I got some really good feedback. People seemed to enjoy the work I’ve created so far and been impressed with the jump from  working with pigment originally and now working with light ant illusion.

The Crit has definitely helped me solidify some ideas about how to use lighting within my work. I was unsure whether the jump from using pigment to light itself would work so well as it is a fairly new experience for me. However I feel that the best way to show the tricks and illusions of light is to use light itself, this creates a type of paradox within my work that hadn’t previously existed before.

The simplicity of the shapes were enjoyed also, as they were not too distracting or over complicated. The shapes were both natural and geometric allowing for the viewer to be familiar with them and become less confused abut what they were looking at. Many said that the lighting enhanced the hung piece on the wall in a way that the 2D piece looked 3D when lit in the way presented. This Was successful at that was my intention to create an illusion of depth when there isnt any.

In order for me to improve on working with light someone suggested that learning how to code with Paul Granjohn in one of his workshops would be something to look into. This would mean that I could gradually add colour into the piece over an extended period of time and have more control of how the light interacts with each other. Like the saturated inverted colour illusion in my previous post I wonder if when the colour has been intensified but then removed we would then see the opposite colours.

I aim to experiment more with light illusion and optics.



Claudia Weiser

Claudia Wieser is a Berlin-based artist who creates drawings, sculptures, wall installations and tapestries based on the principle of geometric abstraction. Using a motif of geometry throughout her work and muted colour palettes she creates the illusion of 3d on a 2d surface. 

Manipulating the geometric and colour to create a sense of depth and the illusion of the 3 dimensional. Her work is similar to that of mine last year where the geometric played a large part.

I feel that when dealing with colour for dies have to play some role but only has to be subtle and simple. To show two colours together you have to have a boarder between when one colour ends and another begins. Wether that be a drawn line, the line where they meet or when a shadow is cast.

Optical illustions and op art.

The human eye is very complex and has ways in which it adapts to it’s surroundings. Our eye is always colour correcting and changing to the environment we are in. When walking from inside in natural light to outside natural light we know that the two light sources are different and vary in intensity. However it doesn’t look this way as we move from one to the other. This is because our eye is constantly correcting the light balance in our eye so that the colours are constant.

The illusions below demonstrate how the eye projects colour onto the world, sees the same colours differently and adjusts what we see you make sense of the world.

I’m interested in the first illusion. The left is a copy of the original colour photograph but inverted. If you stare and the dot in the centre of the image for 30-40 seconds the look at the centre of the black and white image, the original colour photograph should appear. When looking at the coloured image, over the 30/40 seconds the eye or brain tries to normalise the colours by projecting its complementary colour on to the image. Now this is very subtle and wouldn’t notice it until you move your eyes across to the black and white image where there is no inverted colour. Here the black and white image looks to be in full correct colour.

I would like to explore with this colour correction idea within my own work. However im not sure how to go about it as of yet.


James Turrell

In many of Turrells pieces of work he managed to abstract colour and create a totally submersive environment of colour. With coloured light he can give the illusion that a square room has no corners and expands on forever, shapes manage to float suspended in space and collages the sky into a abstract surreal scene.

His early work is mainly creating an environment that seems to go on for ever. Rooms have no corners or edges. Doorways look like giant blocks of colour that seem to be suspended in space like a portal into another realm of visual experience. Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of experiencing the work of Turrell but know of a piece in the Yorkshire sculpture garden that I plan to visit. The piece there is more like a viewing chamber for the sky. You gaze up with the sky perfectly framed within a white washed frame.

Turrell focuses main on the phenomenon of visual experience, the artwork is created in order for the eye to experience the phenomenon of color and for the viewer to be submerged in it.



Over the last few weeks I have signed up to learn how to wire my own lighting system. Using RGB LEDs I can wire them together to how and where I desire and then program the colours to how id like them. This has given me so many ideas on how I can light the paintings and also play around with sculpture.

Playing around with light also allows me to play around with how the eye works directly. The eye is sensitive to pigment due to the light being reflected/absorbed by the surface as I have played around with pigment I feel that light may be the next step. I like the idea of keeping everything I make black white or grey and only adding the colour through light. This can allow for a level of interaction also as I can change the colours at my will. I could possibly have a sensor built it that would make the colours change as someone walks past.

rawings I have done so far


I’m really interested in the love and hate of colour within art and the uses of colour to communicate and express ideas. Iv’e used colour a lot over the last year or so and i’m interested in exploring other artists ideas on how important or unimportant colour is to them. It is known that in modern art, colour seems to be stripped back to basic primary colours if any colour as all, blacks whites and greys are mostly used alongside shape and form.

David Batchelor’s Chromophobia, discusses ideas on how colour is seen as a decent from the clean monochrome, into the feminine, oriental, seductive, and other such imperfect and adulterated forms of art. When sitting down to draw a landscape an artist would sit and sketch out the composition first with a fair amount of detail in a grey or a black. One could argue that you can understand the composition of the drawing already, that the the depth and light and shade can already be seen in the sketch and that the colour only adds ‘charm’ to the composition. I want to see how contemporary artists are challenging the idea that form is a primary quality in front of the secondary quality of colour. Is it possible to create something where colour is the primary, and form the secondary?