'Lucy Skaer works a personal alchemy from source material familiar to most - even if we are unaware of it when confronted by the results of her diverse practice. The images, symbols and shapes that she selects and manipulates are often politically charged, socially poignant, and always in a state of flux.
'I am interested in the idea that the corpse or cadaver is a naturally occurring image - it is the perfect likeness of the living person, and yet it has become fundamentally different. My work explores the movement of images, and plays with the degree to which they are separate from first-hand experience. Moments of trauma are structured into compositions taken from sources such as coats of arms and propaganda posters. Walking a line between documentation and symbolism, these works seek to question the way in which you read them'
By 1917, three years into the First World War, the success of the German U boat fleet against British ships at sea meant urgent action was needed. Considering the problem at length, Royal navy lieutenant and marine artist Norman Wilkinson came up with a solution he called 'Dazzle [or Razzle Dazzle] Painting'; complex patterns of bold geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other, intended not to conceal the ships (they often made them more obvious) but to limit the enemies ability to calculate speed, position and direction. These schemes were applied to hundreds of ships, their single purpose, and distortion. It could be said that the artist Lucy Skaer employs very similar tactics in her work, which encompasses a wide variety of media. Often apparently irrational, contrary, willful, even decadent at first glance, Skaer's practice is enigmatic and elusive - though not open to misinterpretation, because no single reading is possible or desired. It resists capture and moves constantly, adopting different guises along the way. Like a U Boat captain staring through a periscope and attempting to 'read' a dazzle-painted warship, the viewer is aware that the retinal confusion Skaer often creates is a means to an end. The very act of looking at her work and interpreting it is the essence of the work itself. Skaer makes enigmatic emotional triggers from material already charged, potent and pointed in its aims. She redirects this energy not to create polemics, but poetic questions - questions about what it is to be alive, and what personal choices we make in interpreting this information' (L. Skaer and T. Gidley quoted in Tom Gidley, 'Reflections in a Golden 'I'', Mousse Magazine, 2009).