Project 5 – Phenomenology of Colour

Artist – Dr Catrin Webster

Scientists – Dr Heather Whitney and Mike Harrap, Bristol Bee Lab, Bristol University; Dr Natasha de Vere, National Botanic Garden of Wales; Michele Bales, Buglife

Paintings ability to evoke and stimulate the senses has been a fundamental aspect of my work for the past 20 years, which is centred on perception of place. Webster has explored how painting and sound can be correlated in projects such as 1000 Colours Blue, (2012) and is interested in the tension between the phenomenology of experience and the potential of painting to translate and communicate this.

The opportunity to work with scientists and artist from a variety of disciplines around the theme of ‘pollinator’s has enabled Webster to gain a rich understanding of an alternative but interrelated sensory world. One key idea stimulated from these dialogues and insights has been to think about colour as iridescent (refracted light) rather than as purely reflective (paint). Webster wishes to experiment with creating textured surfaces, on metal for example, to make reflected light as iridescent colour together with using paint – as a means to explore and alternative perception of place. In addition, the opportunity to extend this research into a multi-sensory installation in the Botanical Gardens is a very exciting prospect, where sent, sound, surface and colour could all be utilised to create an experience which can be appreciated by a wide audience, including those who are visually or physically impaired.