Lis Naylor

2018, De Montfort University

"I celebrate the figure, whether be it animal or human, capturing the essence of a gestural movement in time. My work asks questions of the viewer inviting an emotional response. It begins with life drawing in ink using a long
rigger brush; of a naked dancer, family portrait, friend or in the open air embracing the elements with my horses, dogs and chickens. The simplicity of the gestural paintings translates beautifully into contemporary hand finished silk screen prints. Progressing from this I make large scale naïve figurative sculptures using the same original painting and working with a variety of materials. I like to get my hands dirty and I love the sensual nature of shaping and smoothing clay and finished plaster. These materials alone are addictive to work with; to add structure and form I use found objects, make moulds and build infrastructures from wood and metal.
My work is about ‘the self’ and explores the delicate nature of emotion and encourages selfreflection. In our throw - away consumerist society where we live for ‘the moment’ my work allows you time to consider and think and perhaps suggests life is better when you do. Each piece is carefully considered and depending on the materials used and emotion reflected will determine the placement. I strive for my work to be selfreflective, it manages to encourage the viewer to ask questions about their life and how they live it. My work is hollow, concave, see through, but tactile. It allows people to walk up to and around. By also being life size it helps to give individuality and I am doing this by strategically placing my work which then invites further questions. I have always been inquisitive of our exterior presentation since I studied fine art portraiture, but I was always more interested in the skeletal structure and muscle and ligament system underneath, hence my interest in making sculptures of the body. I believe my work is authentic, honest and reflective and allows my work to show my true passion.
The key turning point in my practise came when I began painting and drawing from life, not only was it tremendously satisfying and enjoyable but produced work with a sense of freedom and movement that I’d never experienced before. As I live an outdoor life in Leicestershire at the heart of the country sports community I have daily access to the things I love; my horses, a couple of Labrador dogs and a family of chickens. We migrate to Exmoor where we follow the stag hounds and spend the autumn in the foot hills of the Cairngorms enjoying the scenery whilst stalking and grouse shooting. I began my practise by researching Henry Moore, Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth and Louise Bourgeois, their style is evident in distinct aspects of my work. As my confidence and knowledge grew I graduated towards artists such as Rebecca Warren, Thomas Houseago and Phyllida Barlow, they were interesting to me because of the materials they used, how they presented their work and the large scale. I have used these as inspiration and made it into my own original work. Why is your work relevant now? My work looks at ‘the self’ and how we express our emotions and encourages us to reflect and react rather than react and reflect, allowing my work to be as real and natural as possible."
Vernal kneeling.jpg
Vernal kneeling 
120cm x 120cm x 100cm
Vernal - bending over.jpg
Vernal - bending over
120cm x 120cm x 120cm
Vernal - standing.jpg
Vernal - standing
190cm x 70cm x 70cm