Heather Lander is a graduate from the Glasgow School of Art with a B.A. (Hons) Fine Art Drawing and Painting and a Master of Fine Art with distinction. Recipient of the The Bram Stoker prize - awarded annually for"the best imaginative work of the Session in any branch of effort in the School" - her work questions how humans in a technological age continue to respond to reality. Unlike Jean Baudrillard's philosophical theories in Simulacra and Simulation (1981) that argue that thehuman experience is of a simulation of reality in our modern world, Lander investigates how we perceive reality in a world centred around illusionistic systems.
Much of Lander's 3D work involves sculpture made from sheets of perspex. She uses a laser cutter to emulate shapes from her previous paintings. The perspex shapes have notches in them which enable the structures to be assembled in different ways. By doing so, she experiments with how elements from one artwork can come together in a multiple of forms: transforming a flat, two dimensional painting into a three-dimensional sculpture. By sanding the perspex in certain areas, the light reacts differently when projection mapped onto the final installation. The colour and forms from her paintings, now projected onto sculpture, are unrecognisable from looking at the video footage. This imagery become another stage in Heather Lander's process - representing film as well as sculpture. The sculptures themselves span her experimentation into using a variety of different materials - including mirror, glass and acetate.
We speak to Heather about the meaning and methodology behind her sculptures and installations:
"Our perception of reality, and how phenomena such as illusions and technology can alter this, has become a key component to my work over the past few years. How we recognise and keep hold of realty in a world that is working towards complete virtual immersion is the question my work currently investigates. The nature of, and the relations between, magic, illusion, reality and the virtual are central to my practice and my thought processes in the studio."
"I have been drawn towards abstraction since I first became interested in pursuing an artistic career, and I have seen my practice follow a distinct and ever more defined line of investigation into this. For several years, my focus was on painting- this led me into the study of illusion. It was during my time at the GSA on the MFA programme that I began to follow a line of enquiry which expanded my studio practice into the digital realm by means of video installation, with the intention to further study the power and history of illusion."
"My current work adapts the traditional idea of the screen. It transforms it into sculptural elements using translucent, reflective and mirrored surfaces to exploit the properties of the light coming from the projectors and/or monitors. The idea of the physical versus the virtual drives my studio practice as the need to understand the differences, and similarities, between these is a constant objective. The more I investigate the virtual the more I feel the need to understand what effects it will have on art, and humanity as a whole."
"On completion of the MFA in June of this year, which culminated in a group exhibition at the Glue Factory in Glasgow, the director of the art school selected my work for the Bram Stoker award. This award is given each year to one student from across all of the GSA degree shows for the most imaginative exhibition of work. I was honoured to receive such a distinction, which has been a part of the art school’s tradition since Bram Stoker himself visited the art school in 1903, and first awarded the medal to a student during the degree shows."
"In April 2016, I will be exhibiting with fellow artist and friend Simon Harlow as part of the Glasgow International festival in the large Victorian courtyard of the Briggait. Together we will be creating a large scale sculptural and video installation. I am excited to have the opportunity to show work within the architecture of this historic building."
Heather has recently been invited to exhibit at the University College of Cork with Pluck Projects. This exhibition will take place in November of this year.