artistsMaria Sykes

Lisa Ward

artistsMaria Sykes
Lisa Ward

Frontier Fellowship June 2015

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Lisa Ward grew up in the Pacific Northwest and had the privilege to grow up in a family of explorers, who found adventures in books when they weren't at sea, in the mountains, or in the forest. She was indoctrinated in the tall tales of the old Northwest, and the idea that good stories were often born from seeking new frontiers; usually outside. She is an artist and an architect currently exploring symbols of human habitation and infrastructure and their relationship to the surrounding landscape. The conceptual underpinnings for this work stem from the iconographical significance of open space in the American West and the objects we place in it to support our way of life. The investigation hypothesizes that the aesthetic reality of our interventions in the landscape reveal our cultural values in respect to land, natural resources, and each other. Lisa lives and work in Portland, Oregon.

Launch Tower in progress, at twilight, and at night.

Launch Tower in progress, at twilight, and at night.

Launch Tower was an intervention with an existing wooden structure that was originally built during the Cold War as part of the Green River Launch Complex. The top floor of the 36' tower became an armature for a light box, wrapped in sheets of muslin and lit from the inside with fluorescent lamps. Perched on a promontory, the softly glowing tower was visible from Interstate 70 and the town of Green River below. 

Testing the lighting for Launch Tower.

Testing the lighting for Launch Tower.

The Bunker Project: A Mausoleum for the Desert was a temporary projection and sound installation in a Cold War era bunker located just outside of Green River, Utah. The bunker was built with 12 x 12 wooden beams that were stacked and buried into the side of a hill. The interior space of the bunker is a long, dark corridor 9 feet wide and 100 feet long. The audience was asked to arrive in time to watch the sunset from the top of the bunker. At twilight, visitors were escorted into the bunker in small groups at 4 minute intervals. The tunnel was dimly lit by the projection and intermittent candlelight and filled with sound. 

Epicenter staff, friends, and artist Lisa Ward enjoying the sunset from the top of The Bunker.

Epicenter staff, friends, and artist Lisa Ward enjoying the sunset from the top of The Bunker.

The projection inside the bunker was a collage of images from missile test sites in the american southwest and its Russian equivalent in atomic proving grounds, Kazakhstan. The majority of the photographs of the Nevada Tests Sites were taken by Richard Misrach, who brought awareness to the self-inflicted ecocide committed during the Cold War.

The sound for this piece is a compilation of an ancient Russian choral piece (Retche Gospod Gospodevi Moyemu, performed by Chorovaya Akademia and Alexander Sedov) and recordings made by the artist of rocket launches during the 10th Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) in Green River, Utah.

Well, installed at the Green River Golf Course.

Well, installed at the Green River Golf Course.

Originally conceived for a group show which encountered installation restrictions, Well, is a simple, circular void set within a body of water to evoke the sense of an absence of water with a symbol that historically connotes a source of water. I tested a prototype in the Green River Golf Course's pond with moderate success.