Lucy Irvine’s Surface Strategies is at Canberra Airport for Design Canberra 2017

For the next few weeks, Canberra Airport will have a large and striking adornment greeting passengers looking out on to the tarmac.

Canberra artist Lucy Irvine’s Surface Strategies will be affixed to one of the major windows. This is part of the Design Canberra Festival 2017, Craft ACT’s promotion of Canberra as an international centre of design.

“It’s a large, site-specific work,” Irvine, who is studying for a PhD in the Sculpture department at the ANU School of Art, said of Surface Strategies.

“it’s made out of expansion joint foam.”

The material had to be light enough to be able to be affixed to glass but bold enough to stand out from a distance. she said.

Irvine made the piece in 12 sections, each about two metres high by three metres wide, over a period of about three months. She brought the sections to the site and attached them to the window with paper binders, weaving connections to create one large piece of art.

“I’m obsessed with space,” Irvine said.

She said she was particularly interested in site-specific work and the qualities of emerging forms when responding to individual sites, Irvine also said she liked working with utilitarian materials – “part of the fabric of how we live” – and all of these aspects came together in the creation of Surface Strategies.

“This was an opportunity to consider the window as the gridwork of a map, playing with scale and playing with an original form; playing with micro and macro.

“It could be a world view or under a microscope.”

Surface Strategies was Irvine’s first commissioned work in Canberra. She had a piece in the Dark Mofo Festival in MONA in Hobart in 2016 and was represented in the Craft ACT Members Exhibition this year.

Irvine said, “I came to the attention of Rachel Collins, chief executive officer of Craft ACT, when I was part of a panel discussion on the combination of digital technologies with materials.”

The Scottish-born Irvine did her undergraduate studies in Yorkshire came to Australia 14 years ago with her Australian husband, spending the first 12 years in Melbourne where she did her masters degree at the Victorian College of the Arts. Two years ago they moved to Canberra so she could undertake a residency in the textile department at the School of Art and now she’s doing her doctorate.

“Canberra is a great place to live and work.”

Surface Strategies is on display at the Canberra Airport until November 26. There will be an artist talk there on Sunday, November 5 at 3pm.