Lichen Strip at Phoenix Brighton
May 26, 2019
Stig Evans and Philip Cole share studio balconies at Phoenix Brighton. Since being repainted less than 10 years ago they have noticed the gradual growth and spread of orange/yellow lichen across its parapet. Xanthoria parietina and Xanthoria aureola. Common lichens that occur throughout Southern England. Lichens are used as indicators of air quality and their gradual spread over the balcony and roofs across Brighton suggest a change to Brighton’s air quality. Both lichen species are able to tolerate surfaces with high levels of pollutants associated with artificial fertilizer and car exhaust fumes.
To highlight this, the Artists have come together to work on this collaborative piece. Both are abstract painters, sharing common interests in colour and colour nomenclature, both also make text-based work.
Together they have subtly transformed the balcony by removing sections of the lichen to create a temporary intervention. ‘Lichen Strip’ is a 44-metre-long text piece using an historic colour designation system for naming colours that uses a set of 12 basic colour terms and a small set of adjective modifiers. The National Bureau of Colour Standards first established the dictionary in the 1930s. Its intention being to sufficiently standardise colour nomenclature across different fields such as science, arts, printing, geology and botany as well as being easily understood by everyone.
Using the yellow /orange section of the dictionary the lichen was carefully removed to create a lyrical text-based piece that also identifies and categorises the incredible colours that the lichen contain