Fiona works with the poetics, politics and materialities of landscape space via writing, the making of objects and site-related installations.
Fiona received her PhD from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2016, with the thesis Towards a Fractured Topography of the Present: Art, ecology and the political economy of speed. Fiona previously studied for a BA and MA at Manchester School of Art and holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Manchester.
Prior to taking up her post as Senior Tutor in Mixed Media Textiles at the RCA, Fiona worked as a Senior Lecturer at Manchester School of Art from 2005 to 2014. Fiona has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally and has undertaken a number of site-related public commissions.
School, Centre or Area
Fiona creates objects for exhibition and public art commissions for heritage environments. Her work explores the histories of landscape sites and materials referencing historical and contemporary conditions and representations of power, the politics of land use and alternative ecologies. In her studio practice objects and materials are stacked, draped, hung and folded often using the vertical and the horizontal planes in order to disrupt viewing positions and to question the different cultural values traditionally ascribed to art forms and materials across painting, sculpture and textiles.
Fiona’s research joins trans-disciplinary work undertaken in the Arts and Environmental Humanities in response to climate change, the Anthropocene, ‘new’ materialisms and speculative post-anthropocentric political thought. Her writing focuses on environmental art as an expanded field of ecological practice. She welcomes research students interested in these fields and in the pursuit of textiles as a fine art practice.
The Jean Spencer and Malcolm Hughes Bursary, the Slade School of Fine Art, 2012
Shortlisted for the West Dean Tapestry Commission, 2016
Commission for Kielder Art and Architecture at Kielder Forest, Northumberland, 2015–2016
RIBA MSA Small Project Award, 2011, for the site-specific commission, This time next year things are going to be different, produced for the Tatton Park Biennial in 2010.
Current and recent projects
Fiona's research sits within the emerging field of the environmental humanities and post-anthropocentric ecological thought.
Her writing and practice focus on the critical significance of landscape, explored as sight (representation/mediation) and site (material) in contributing to an expanded material and aesthetic sense of ecological relations. The research is further guided by interrogating the environmental impacts of new technologies since the 1960s, highlighting their contribution to a political economy of speed via the restructuring of capital along transnational, cognitive and seemingly ‘immaterial’ lines. Whilst this research is ecological in intent, it critiques the concept of 'environmental art' and the application of this term to a niche area of practice. Landscape is presented as relationally constituted and assembled through specific cultural, economic, technological and material practices.
Publications, exhibitions, other outcomes
Fiona has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally. Recent public commissions include The grass seemed darker than ever, a site-specific project for Kielder Art & Architecture at Kielder Forest in Northumberland (2016); An accident looking for somewhere to happen commissioned by Locws International for Art Across the City, Swansea (2012) and This time next year things are going to be different for the Tatton Park Biennial, Tatton Park, Cheshire (2010).
Recent exhibitions include No Matter, New Matter, Ed.Varie, New York (2015); Promise of Palm Trees, Breese Little, London (2014); Mostyn Open, Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, Wales; Situation, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia (2014); Detail, H Projects, Bangkok (2014); Riff, Baltic 39, Newcastle; Beach Fatigue, Carslaw St* Lukes, London (2013-14); Untitled, Miami, USA (2012); Translate/Transcribe, Central House of Artists, Moscow, Russia (2012); Guasch-Coranty International Painting Prize, Centro de Tecla Sala, Barcelona, Spain (2010); Assembly, Chapter Gallery, Cardiff (2010).
Conference Presentations and Publications
‘Between the earth and the sky: planetary borders in Vija Celmins’ Untitled (Desert/Galaxy).’ Border Control: On The Edges of American Art, Tate Liverpool.
‘Losing Ground in a no knowledge zone: Pierre Huyghe’s Antarctic Journey that Wasn’t.’ Kritische Berichte 2: 2017 on the theme of (Post)Nature / Natur(T)Räume, Edited by Louise Malcolm and Anna Minta.
‘A Geography Without An Author: Unreliable Facts, Fantastical Fictions.’
OAR (Oxford Artistic and Practice Based Research Platform) Issue 2 on the theme of Validity.
'Cloud Ecologies: Weather, Pollution, Time and Data', Mutating Ecologies in Contemporary Art, MACBA, Barcelona (publication forthcoming 2017)
'Satellite's Gone: Materialities of the Space Race, Atmospheric Politics, Drifting Clouds', Speeding & Braking, Goldsmith's University
‘Thinking Thought Otherwise: Cannibal Metaphysics and the Resistance to Ideal Form’, Transvaluation: Making The World Matter, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. Full paper available here.
‘Anxious Objects’, Disegno, Vol.7.
‘Thinking the Interior: Atmospheric envelopes and entangled objects’, SITUATION, RMIT, Melbourne.
‘Cannibalising Nature: Resituating Hélio Oiticica’s Tropicália as ethical-environmental practice’, Reading and Exhibiting Nature, University of Westminster.
'Ecologies of the Object' at Making Futures III, Plymouth School of Art. Paper available in Making Futures Journal, Vol III: Interfaces Between Craft Knowledge and Design
‘Paradise Lost? Contemporary Design and the Corruption of Nature’, Collapse, Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies, University College London.
‘Where Planes Intersect: The Function of The Oblique in J.G.Ballard and Paul Virilio’, Spatial Perspectives: Literature and Architecture 1850 to the Present, The University of Oxford.
'Geographies of Colour: Armchair Travellers and The Tropical Imaginary', Research Projects 2012, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
'Paradise Lost? Contemporary Design and The Corruption of Nature', Bringing It all Back, Design and Revivals, Parsons New School of Art and Design, New York.