Open Frequency 2009: Lucy Skaer selected by Chris Evans

Open Frequency 2009: Lucy Skaer selected by Chris Evans Lucy Skaer, Depth/River, 2005. 102 x 154 cm. Watercolour and pencil on paper

Artist Chris Evans profiles the work of artist Lucy Skaer


Lucy Skaer works on paper: large stretches of paper that in scale resemble unfurled banners, flags or giant scrolls. When pinned to the wall, meticulously drawn and painted imagery is revealed - yet the imagery is often ambiguous and not always what it first might seem. Merging photo-originated images with different forms of patterning, Skaer creates shifting rebus-like collages that move from the emotive to the reified. At play here is our familiarity with the compositional structure of Venn diagrams, heraldry, oriental porcelain design and Rorsach ink blots.

Skaer's images can not be easily read: an inter-layering of motifs disorientates ways of looking and classifying recognisable things. It is similar to deciphering a text in a vaguely familiar language. Only as your eyes repeatedly travel across the expanse of paper, left to right, downwards and up, can a motif be slowly fathomed.

Transformation and camouflage are central to her practice. Her main source of reference is archived and printed material, images loaded with political and cultural baggage, which, through a process of tracing and merging with other pictorial and factual motifs, become distanced from their original source, opening a space for alternative interpretations. Skaer states, 'All the elements are familiar, the logic recognisable, the symbolism readable, but at the centre of the drawing is a value impossible to understand'.

Chris Evans, 2006


Artist's biography

Lucy Skaer (born 1975) trained at Glasgow School of Art and graduated from the Environmental Art department in 1997.

Recent exhibitions include The Music of the Future, Gasworks, London; Frankfurt Kunstverein; Platform for Art, London Underground; The world, abridged, Kettles Yard, Cambridge (all 2005); Lucy Skaer at Schnittraum, Cologne; The Opaque (solo show) doggerfisher, Edinburgh; Edge of the Real: a painting show, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; The Problem in Seven Parts, (solo show) Counter, London; Zenomap at Pier Arts Centre, Orkney (2004).

Skaer is a founder member of Henry VIIIs Wives, a group consisting of artists Bob Grieve, Rachel Dagnall, Sirko Knupfer, Simon Polli and Per Sander. She is currently based in New York undertaking the Scottish Arts Council New York Studio residency, and lives and works in Glasgow. Skaer is included in theBritish Art Show 6, opening in Manchester on 27 January 2006.


About Chris Evans

Chris Evans' work develops through complex collaborations between institutions, corporate businesses, fellow artists and himself. Works are manifested in a very wide variety of materials taking the form, for example, of bronze sculpture, editioned etchings, mass produced magazine inserts and audio recordings. Other works by Evans dont exist at all in a conventional sense, theyre simply structures, connections between groups of people or ideas, that are left out in the world waiting for somebody to find and use them.

Evans current work includes 'Radical Loyalty', which centres on the construction of a sculpture park on a small plot of land in the industrial town of Jarvakandi, Estonia. The sculptures themselves have been proposed by an alliance of managing directors from international companies (brought together by Evans from the corporate sectors of retail, telecommunications, energy, advertising and finance).

Acting as consultant, Evans has asked each member to respond to their individual feelings about loyalty, defining how their perspectives could be seen as radical. These ideas have been visualised in a series of prints and will assist a collective of Estonian artists, responsible for building the countrys monuments during the era of Soviet occupation and enlisted by Evans to build the alliances park.

Chris Evans has previously exhibited at Artconnection, Lille (2004), Dundee Contemporary Arts (2003), Tramway Project Space, Glasgow (2003), Nordic Institute for Centemporary Art (2002), The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2003). He has an upcoming solo show at Store Gallery in London in March 2005 and will be participating in Bezet, a group exhibition with Ryan Gander, Germaine Kruip, Maria Barnas, Gabriel Kuri and Sven Augustijnen, at Kunstfortvijfhuizen (NL) in May.

Mid-February, Chris Evans will be presenting a project at Casco, Utrecht, for which he has invited the Amsterdam Police force to give a recruitment talk at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy.


Open Frequency keeps you in touch with new developments in contemporary art practice from across the UK. The artists are selected and profiled by leading curators, artists and writers, presenting the work of artists to watch out for over the coming year. Open Frequency represents a forward-looking glance today of the artists who will be setting the agenda tomorrow.