DAZZLE + DISRUPT: Lisa Traxler

Lisa Traxler RWS, MRSS is a contemporary visual artist, living and working in Britain. Her interdisciplinary practice embraces the partnership of two and three dimensional form engaging with scale and shape responding to historical research and architectural spaces. Working across a range of media including constructed assemblages and wall based relief sculpture articulated in abstract form.

Traxler’s fascination with military dazzle camouflage emerged whilst the artist was researching a former WWII radar station on the south of the Isle of Wight, RAF St, Lawrence.

“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.”

The passage of these vessels through altering light, weather and location meant any camouflage would have to work in this changing environment. The disruption painting during the Great War was intent on breaking up the form of the ship, rather than hide it in the usual ‘camouflage’ sense. The purpose was to confuse from the perspective of the U-boat and later, during WWII the disruption design scheme was needed over multi areas; not only over vertical surfaces but also over the ships horizontal planes due to air attack as well as U-boat threat.

Each dazzle scheme was unique and these hand drawn or noted plans were issued as CAFO (Confidential Admiralty Fleet Order) and AFO (Admiralty Fleet Order) documents, which, once approved were sent as large scale drawings to various dockyards to be transposed onto the ships.

“My paintings and sculptures often recall the schemes of earlier works giving rise to interpretation and further possibilities. This duality between the physicality of wall based surface and the spatial situation of floor based ‘object’ works is an ongoing dialogue. Seen in the wall hung ‘Descendants’ revoking the essence of a predecessor work, ‘Industry’. This wall painted mural design was deconstructed during experimentation creating offspring, ten irregular shapes of ‘Descendants’ arranged across the wall. The black outline framing the splintered shapes within hold the pieces as boundary lines but also connect to my framed 2d collage works on paper and their ‘pattern pieces’ of construction.

The works have an importance to each other but this relationship also extends to their location. The walls of the West Gallery become an active component of ‘Descendants’ whilst the ‘Time Traveller Transformation’ series are placed directly on the floor creating a landscape from the gallery’s interior and their ‘architectural’ situation within this space. A further component is the viewer – the floor based works are a direct connection with the interaction of the viewer; apertures and spacings of the pieces encourage this relationship.”

Dazzle + Disrupt exhibition images by Julian Winslow. All Dazzle + Disrupt commissioned artworks are copyright by the artists 2021.

Traxler explores the concept of perspective and spatial awareness in her newly commissioned works alongside an exploration of materials from cut paper drawings to vitreous enamelled steel and hand painted wood sculptures. The installations in Dazzle + Disrupt establish connections with this scale and the reality of these disrupted schemes through a specific relationship with their surroundings. All artworks are new pieces created for this exhibition by the artist in her continuing exploration of this subject.

Born in London, Traxler studied Fashion & Textiles at Croydon Art College and Birmingham Polytechnic, graduating with a BA Hons degree. She previously worked in London as a fashion editor (IPC Publications) and costume designer. Traxler is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors (elected 2017), Royal Watercolour Society (elected 2015) and National Acrylic Painters Association (elected 2009). She works from her studio based in St Lawrence, Isle of Wight.

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