Cells Residency: Fiona Campbell
May 09, 2019 @ 6:00 PM
Confrontation with uncomfortable topics is a strong characteristic of this residency and exhibition. ‘Offenders’ may offend but more importantly, Fiona hopes it raises questions - are we all offenders given the state of our world today?
Flesh, tongues, waste, nature, violence: Fiona Campbell's huge sculptural tongue in the making, fragile and exposed, activates the whole space in a basement cell at Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge. Revealing the labour and handmade nature of it, the visitor can feel the artist's presence and touch. Tongue is like a big wounded body lying there, a vulnerable softness juxtaposed against the hardness of the cell, repulsive but also seductive.
Fiona is using the art residency as an opportunity to test ideas, responding to the unique site. Her work intersects sculpture, drawing and installation. Recycled and found materials - scrap steel, copper wires, readymade fabrics, twine and objects she finds around her are being transformed into drawings in space, in a state of becoming. These will make threads of interconnections - rhizomic. Her choice of materials relates to the issue of waste, our relationship with matter, nature, and ourselves.
Through her work Fiona tackles environmental exploitation, fragile boundaries and life’s interconnections from cellular to planetary. Issues such as factory farming, animal welfare, caged beings, human imposition, restriction, injustice, over consumption and greed inform the content.
Fiona grew up in Kenya, which influenced her love of nature and the way she uses materials. She is now based in Somerset. Her work is visceral and tactile, imbued with time and energy - the act of making almost performative.
Fiona explains: ‘I like interesting spaces for art, outside the normal gallery setting - they’re conducive to experimental work. The cells are intriguing, emotive spaces for site-responsive work. The steel bars are a metaphor for incarceration, crime and punishment, injustice, protest. I’ve wanted to make and show work in this space for years! My work has recently become more activist in approach. I tend to use metaphor for message. Affected by personal events, loss, the recent death of my dog, I have become more attuned to the horrors that we are facing - our plastic oceans, increasing rich/poor divide, factory-farming, animal extinctions. I see the labour-intensive creative process of my work - weaving and wrapping - as a form of suturing, a cathartic healing and an effort to repair in response to destruction.’
Fiona Campbell will be working in Town Hall Arts’ Cells for her residency during April, culminating in an exhibition in May. Launch: 9 May, 6-7.30pm
Town Hall Arts is open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm; Sat 10am-2pm.
Fiona will also be running a 3-d Wire Workshop Tuesday 9 April, 10am-1pm ages 6+