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Lisa Temple-Cox

My work explores interstices: between science and religion, the normal and the pathological, the familiar and the uncanny.

My research interests revolve around the aesthetics and symbolism of the museum; using its collections, taxonomies, and histories as metaphors for a contemporary subjective experience of the body, in life and death. My history as a mixed-race, post-colonial child informs a practice exploring interstices: between science and religion, the normal and the pathological, the familiar and the uncanny. These themes are visualised through mixed-media processes which include drawing and painting, assemblage, and installation.

Recent work combines historical and contemporary anatomical imagery with maps and literature to create layers of image and meaning, evoking new considerations of anatomical collections and their role in creative responses to the body. This mapping process – anatomical, geographical and conceptual - forms part of a metaphorical locating of the 'self': the medicalised or pathological self becoming a metaphor for the 'stateless' self that is brought into question by relocation from one country or state to another.

I am also working on a series of paintings informed by anatomical specimens, models and illustrations. I am exploring the humanising effect of using traditional media and techniques to evoke echoes of the subjects' former lives. This interpretation or reinterpretation of anatomical/museological display changes the context of the subject matter, which - alongside the muted colour palette - situates it in an interstitial space between the time of it's creation or entry into the museum, and the moment that it now occupies.

I have recently begun an Arts Council funded project entitled 'Archipelago'. Informed by Wallace's book of his travels in the Malay Archipelago ( 1854 to 1862), I am using this as a catalyst for exploring my mixed Anglo-Malay heritage: unpacking layers of family and personal history, natural history, botany, arts and crafts, ghost stories, and genetics. I aim in the process to develop my creative practice in a range of media, bringing together sometimes disparate areas of my craft.

My studio work is enabled by and intersected within a community engagement and public arts practice, making artwork for institutions as varied as schools, hospitals, libraries, and public conveniences. I have taught art at secondary school, FE, and HE levels, and regularly disseminate my visual research at conferences and seminars in the UK, Europe and USA.


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