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Lisa Courtley: Urban Landscape
28th March to 5th May 2017
Open evening 28th March 7-9pm
My work focuses on the impact of urbanisation on the natural environment. My predominant medium is photography and illustration, some of my work places plants and wildlife into locations in an illustrative way through editing and at times using self-adhesive prints to create semi-permanent compositions. The exhibition also includes a number of photographs and mixed media pieces of different locations that I have visited.
Growing up on several housing estates as a child, I developed an inherent fascination with urban places and estates.
The sociological experiences are something that you can only really appreciate if you have experienced them for yourself. The estate becomes a community and everyone knows everyone, social groups evolve and there is a hierarchy. You grow and experience life together.
I am fascinated by graffiti, urban structures and areas of deterioration, specifically the impact of urbanisation on communities and environments. My predominant medium is photography and illustration, I also produce site specific artworks that are placed in locations and documented through photographic medium.
These studies of nature reflect the environmental impact of over population and urban locations and intermingle with existing graffiti and other man made elements.
The Parakeets are particularly significant to Thamesmead as London and the South East are now home to many of these exotic birds. Initially from Africa and Asia, the birds would have been imported as exotic pets and after escaping are now breeding.
Through its Project Parakeet initiative, Imperial College London wants to analyse data they have collected to assess the impact on agriculture and the native bird population. The impact we as humans have on the environment is much debated. Climate change is a constant subject of interest.
The plant artworks are more of a recognition of how urban estates are affecting natural wildlife. The plants and birds chosen for my artworks are wild plants and native birds that would naturally exist in these locations.
The Green Chain Walk is a location used for my book titled ‘Urban Nature’. The network of footpaths and open spaces, which runs through the Thamesmead Estate spans 40 miles from Crystal Palace to Erith. Many of my paste ups were documented along the Green Chain Walk itself. The name of the walkway contrasts some of the locations and encourages the viewer to question their surroundings.
Other locations I have produced work are Heygate Estate (Elephant and Castle) prior to regeneration, Camden, Morgan’s Island abandoned water park (Aruba) and other locations in and around London. As well as illustrations and photographs, I have also produced a number of mixed media pieces where I take surface rubbings in the locations where I have previously photographed.
I work full time as an art teacher in secondary education and have done so for thirteen years. I produce my own work as and when I can and enjoy the experiences and opportunities that this gives me.