Installation / Land / Site-specific
I create mixed media assemblages, blurring boundaries between sculpture, drawing and installation, often large-scale and immersive. There is an overriding message of sustainability, with environment at heart; a passion for nature rooted in the notion of life’s interconnectedness, cyclical persistence, transformation. I am interested in tentacularity; the complex web of relationships from micro to macro. I see these rhizomic connections as metaphors for life, vitalism and regeneration. Life as line, energy, is an ongoing ‘doing’ thing - matter in a process of becoming. The work focuses on concerns about climate breakdown, human exploitation of nature and over-consumption, which has led to catastrophic mass animal/plant extinctions. My approach is a form of suturing, artivism, making do, care and repair, giving abandoned objects new life.
Materiality and process are key. My re-appropriation of reclaimed, found and discarded materials relates to waste, our relationship with matter, nature, and ourselves. I regard materials as non-hierarchical. I use labour-intensive methods, often meditative, engaging directly with materials, deliberately showing the hand of maker. Processes include weaving, wrapping, hand stitching, soldering, welding and casting. There is a play of contrasts, an eclectic juxtaposition of delicate/soft and strong/hard. These can suggest organic bodily forms, sometimes abject.
The work blends ancient craft with contemporary concepts, fusing cultures. Deep-rooted connections with Kenya (where I was brought up) inform work. Larger concerns are layered over personal histories. I am interested in creating site-responsive work in unexpected places for art, reaching people who may not have engaged with contemporary art before. Alongside my own practice, I work within the community on socially engaged projects.
Raised in Kenya, Fiona is now based in Somerset. She has an MFA (distinction) from Bath Spa University, ‘18, and PGCE '91. She was an Ingram Prize ’21 finalist, recipient of a Royal Society of Sculptors Gilbert Bayes Award ’19, and received the Red Line Art Works Award ’20 for environmental installations Glut, Accretion, Snakes and Ladders. Snakes and Ladders was created as site-responsive work for B-Wing, an ACE-funded project Fiona co-curated in Shepton Mallet Prison, involving 8 artists/writers and community events. The large-scale installation interacted with the prison wing over 3 floors, later re-installed in Wells Cathedral. Last year, Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand, comprising multiple parts focused on the plight of pangolins (most trafficked mammal), was installed in Chichester Cathedral for Together We Rise, a group exhibition of Royal Society of Sculptors members, curated by Jacquiline Creswell.
In 2015 Fiona was awarded Arts Council funding for an ambitious project step in stone - site-specific artscapes in Mendip quarries with 14 international artists. Fiona curated the multidisciplinary event which linked culture, environment and community. The Gleaning, involved community in co-creating large-scale translucent textiles installations suspended in front of 11 church windows.
As part of her Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice Award ’22-23, Fiona went on a research trip to Kenya, and subsequently held an art residency culminating in a solo exhibition at Create@#8, Shepton Mallet. Other residency/solos include Offenders, Cells, Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge, ’19 and The Loft, Heritage Courtyard Gallery, Wells, ’21.Through representation at Maureen Michaelson Gallery, I was commissioned to create a 4m hand woven canopy as a focal piece for Sarah Eberle’s Viking Cruises Mekong Garden, Chelsea Flower Show ’16, which won gold and best artisan garden. In 2018 I was awarded a research fellowship to take part in Ingruttati Palermo workshop and exhibition, part of Manifesta12. I was highly commended for my work as Green Capital Artist in Residence ’12, culminating in exhibitions at the Arnolfini, Harbour and Create Centre, Bristol.
Fiona serves on the Board of Trustees for Somerset Art Works, and was previously a SAW Rep. She is on the Programming Committee at Black Swan Arts, Frome, previously a Trustee.