Fiona Long Art

The art and musings of Fiona Long, a London based artist. Fiona Long: contemporary artist. Art from Fiona Long

Springboard

Filed under: General — November 7, 2014 @ 7:03 am

I’m showing new work at this group show of Wimbledon, Camberwell, and Chelsea graduates who’ve taken part in international programmes as part of our study at UAL. I was very lucky to take part in a residency at Tokyo Wonder Site in a group of 14 second year BA students from CCW accompanied by Professor Chris Wainwright in 2009. It was a life-changing experience that has affected the art I’ve made ever since and led to a string of wonderful residencies. The show opens this Tuesday 11 Nov at 5.30pm at the Cookhouse Gallery at Chelsea College of Arts, London, SW1P 4JU, and continues until Nov 17 weekdays 12-5pm

I’m excited to be showing the first of a new series of ‘folding paintings’ that explore surface through form with the hope of encouraging the viewer not just to look but to see. Laboriously transposing surface ruptures of paint, in paint creates a paradox I hope that you will feel drawn into. I’d love for you to see it in life and hear your feedback.

Art Vend

Filed under: General — October 7, 2014 @ 4:45 am

Back in 2011 I ran a project in Tooting Market called Market POST with members of POST Artists. We made artworks, ran workshops, and created exhibitions which responded to the market, its traders and visitors. One of my favourite projects was our Tooting Pound Shop, of which there are many, but we were selling artworks. This project made us far more approachable. When we had nothing to sell in the market, people just didn’t know what to make of us. Selling artworks for a pound made us approachable and started a dialogue with the market users that had, at times, been previously too difficult to start. It was interesting to see what sold. Original drawings barely sold but the greetings cards were snapped up. It was basically about use value. It taught us a lot about the setting we were in and how art was perceived. the beauty of this was, however, that it expanded the audiences to our exhibitions and people found our space more welcoming in the future having created this approachable dialogue.

Last year I took part in the most wonderful residency in Cordoba, Spain run by Beam in Wakefiled and funded by the Leonardo Da Vinci lifelong learning programme. One of my fellow participants was the wonderful Annie Nelson who is one of the artist organisers at Woolgather Art in Leeds. She invited me to take part in their Art Vend project. This involved a commission to create 150 artworks for sale at just £1 each which could fit into vending machines, the type where you purchase a plastic sphere and there’s a surprise inside. I loved the idea of the project and racked my brains as to what to make.

I was working in the ceramics department at Escuela De Arte Dionisio Ortiz, Cordoba during the residency so a ceramic piece seemed the perfect choice. The art vend concept made me question multiples as artworks. Thinking about the whole and the fragments. A jigsaw sprang to mind as a multiple artwork and how each piece is a part of a whole but what is its value in isolation. The project seemed to question the value of artworks and of multiples so an impossible jigsaw seemed appropriate.

I created a giant jigsaw with comprising 150 rectangular raku ceramic pieces that could only really be pieced together by checking their individual edition numbers on the back but that could hopefully be treasured as individual items with merely the potential of being a part of a whole.

This piece was created using a hot kiln and then sawdust creating plumes of smoke in 42 degrees centigrade Spanish sunshine!

Each piece was individually wrapped in their plastic shells for artvend with this advice slip: Welcome to The Colony. You now own one part of a 150 piece, nearly impossible, ceramic jigsaw. Each piece is uniquely handcrafted, yet part of a whole. Will you find your neighbours? Would you want to?

Woolgather Art are now celebrating the Art Vend project with an exhibition this December and publication including all of the artworks. If you are about in Leeds at that time, please pop along to the exhibition, and seize the opportunity to collect the final limited edition artworks at only £1 each!

Turps Art School

Filed under: General — October 6, 2014 @ 5:09 am

I’m utterly thrilled to be a part of the Turps Art School. Founded on the generous principles of the wonderful Turps Banana Magazine, written by painters for painters, the studio painting programme is for practicing artists wanting to invigorate their practice through critical debate about painting with peers and mentors.

We have excellent studio space in Elephant and Castle with a lively programme of visiting artists, mentoring sessions, crits, and studio time of course. There is the most wonderful buzz in the studios. Painters who are keen to be there, to make, to experiment, to learn, to shake themselves up and challenge themselves and each other, and mentors who are there because they love teaching, not because they are there for the money and begrudging the time they are spending away from the studio which I’ve experienced elsewhere. The atmosphere is one of progress, challenge, and excitement.

I felt it was just the right time for me to do something like this. All of the fees go to teaching and studio space. None of it goes to ridiculous levels of bureaucracy, Dean’s banquets etc. The course is run by people who are passionate about nurturing debate and encouraging burgeoning painting talent. We all feel an urgency in making work and pushing ourselves and learning from one another. Some very exciting things are happening!

Canalology 3 May 2014

Filed under: Art,Fiona Long,General,News — April 15, 2014 @ 4:37 am

Tottenham Takeover at the V&A

Filed under: General — March 29, 2014 @ 4:26 am

We had a great night at the V&A and POST Artists took over the Medieval & Renaissance Room, giving a sneak peak of Canalology in a completely different context to canalside Tottenham.

It was an extraordinary night. Many thanks to all who came.

V&A Tottenham Takeover

Filed under: General — March 17, 2014 @ 3:41 am

I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Friday Late at the V&A next Friday evening. POST Artists and artists groups and musicians from Tottenham are taking over the V&A for one evening only in their series of evening events that invite London’s creative communities to take over the museum. I will be showing some photographs of shopping trollies in canals.

The free event takes place on Friday 28 March from 6.30pm. I do hope you can join us in this precursor to Canalology where will will be showing works in progress and artworks related to our show in Tottenham in May.

Canalology Preparations

Filed under: General — February 22, 2014 @ 3:05 am

POST Artists have got Arts Council funding to put on Canalology, a one day contemporary art festival along the canal in Tottenham on the 3rd May 2014 and we can’t wait!

I’m excited by the canal in Tottenham because although Tottenham has been in the news so much over the last few years the canal is such an interesting and unknown area which people should see and experience for themselves.

Our impact on our environment at a micro and macro level is of great interest to me. I see how clogged our waterways are with algae and wonder how we react to this? I plan to make an artwork which engages passersby with the health of the canal itself, and how this relates to them, themselves.

I plan to make a pedal powered candyfloss machine! It will be used performatively to serve members of the public delicious yet sludgy green coloured candyfloss, made to resemble the algae in the canal. This project aims to encourage us to examine the relationships between food, function, our levels of consumption, art, the environment, and aesthetics.

I hope that you can join us!

Cascades: past, present and future

Filed under: Art,Fiona Long,General,News — September 14, 2013 @ 8:51 pm

As part of the Art Licks Weekend POST Artists invite you to

Cascades: past, present and future

at Studio 180, 180 Lambeth Road, London SE1 7JY

Private View Thursday 3 October 18:00 – 21:00

Exhibition continues Friday 4 October – Sunday 6 October 11:00 – 18:00

Curators: Samantha Penn and Olga Koroleva

Artists: Marco Cali, Catalina Garces de los Rios, Heather Jones, Matthew Kay, Olga Koroleva, Pippa Kozserek, Rebecca Leach,ilka Leukefeld, Fiona Long, Paula Morison, John O’Hare, Samantha Penn, Matthew Roberts, Jenny Rolfe Herbert, Melanie Russell, Natasha Vicars, Mary Yacoob

A Cascade is triggered, sequential, rational and irrational. In the framework of social theory, it refers the ways in which information is spread, often like wildfire, and sometimes unwittingly. It can refer to a trending hashtag or a collapsing ceiling; subtle and sweeping, all manner of transformation is within reach of the cascade. Cascades erode a mountainside, wipe clean and redefine landscapes, synthesise separate elements or trigger social change. A starting point is determined and often accidental, results unpredictable.

Distorting perceptions of structure, situation and narrative POST will postulate futures for the space, affecting the next weave of the Cascade and enforcing an artificially incurred progression, thus bringing under scrutiny the notion of space in contemporary society. The development of online spaces and communities and the growing impact of artificial venues have triggered exponential distortions of our use of space. Disembodied communities, portable cinemas and augmented reality are now common notions; POST will investigate how these notions can be married to concrete, dust and metal.

Studio 180 is a unique and challenging space and is a perfect experimental platform for POST Artists. Originally a residential building, later the railways communication hub, and now a creative space of three years, it bears a combination of original features and an eclectic collection of vintage and contemporary objects and artworks. During the Art Licks weekend POST will respond to material and ephemeral aspect of the space with a selection of new and existing works.

Studio 180

POST Artists Network

Curators’ full statement and exhibition image can be downloaded from our Art Licks Weekend page

Private tours can be booked via http://artlicksweekend.com/tours

I do hope you can make it along to see this extraordinary place and our show of course! I’ll be there on the Sunday.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Filed under: Art,Fiona Long,General,News — August 21, 2013 @ 12:43 am

Urban Fox/Rural Fox

I’m currently exhibiting some of my ‘Concrete Poetry’ series of paintings, including some that I’ve never shown before. They are on display at Broadway Studios in Tooting, just a 1 minute walk away from Tooting Broadway station. The exhibition is there to compliment Tooting Arts Club’s latest wonderful theatrical offering. Their current show is ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and although I haven’t seen it yet, it’s likely to be immersive with some sort of contemporary twist. Their shows are always brilliant and I can’t wait to see this one myself. So if you fancy a truly unique night out, then get yourself a ticket, and you can look at some of my paintings whilst drinking wine in the interval! It runs from Wednesdays to Sundays until Saturday September 7.

Cordoba Residency

Filed under: Art,Fiona Long,General,News — July 5, 2013 @ 4:10 am

I had a truly incredible time on my residency in Cordoba, Spain. ‘Orange and Green II: Skills for Sustainable Futures’ was organised by Beam in Wakefield and funded by the Leonardo Da Vinci lifelong learning programme. We were hosted by Academia Cordoba and my host organisation was Escuela De Arte Dionisio Ortiz, Cordoba. Cordoba has to be one of my favourite places in the world now and I feel I’ve made some life-long friends. I loved experimenting with ceramics, exploring Cordoba, experiencing Spanish culture, and meeting great people. It actually was a life changing experience.

I began my work wondering how I could explore sustainability through making ceramics. I have always been interested in bushcraft and have recently returned to my fascination with shelters. During our ‘wave’ there were seven participants in Seville and seven of us in Cordoba, four artists and three architects. Spending time with architects also made me keen to explore built structures further. I love anachronisms so thought it would be fun to make something that was in some way modern and in some way primitive. This brought me back to my fascination of the imagined puzzles that an archaeology of the future could provide.

Using the geodesic dome as a starting point seemed the obvious choice since it is almost a symbol of sustainable living with its minimalist design and the social, environmental, and political ideals attached to its philosophy. My plan was to make the structure from natural timber and cordage and to suspend ceramic tiles within the triangular gaps. Whilst I wanted to make it large enough to crawl into, so as to explore it from the outside and experience being inside it, this design was never intended to be a solution, but a work of art. I have difficulty with the pressures of art and activism. Whilst I would love to promote sustainable living, I don’t personally think it’s the artist’s responsibility to do so. I find art made to directly try to influence people can be preachy and unconvincing. Some people differentiate art from craft as art having no use value. I do like to challenge that notion but I wanted to make something poetic and beautiful, a site for experience and exploration.

Unfortunately I immediately hit a stumbling block. Whilst I’ve frequently made sculptures in parks and woodland in Britain with natural abundant timber, in Cordoba, at that time of year, all the pruning had been done and the wood had been disposed of. My mentor Valle kindly offered to bring me bamboo from her garden since the bamboo in the art school’s grounds was protected. Before I was permitted to make the large structure anyway, I had to make a scale maquette. The teaching system is very different in Spain. They teach craft techniques strictly and properly. It is a long apprenticeship and both learning art history and learning your craft come above self-expression or contemporary approaches. As such, the students make technically excellent work but the conceptual side can be lacking at times. In Britain we have more freedom and contemporary contextual knowledge but very little teaching, especially of technique, and little knowledge of old art history. If only there could be some compromise between the two!

On my first day I was given some cardboard, a ruler, a craft knife and tape to make my first rough maquette from. It was fortunate that I had sketched a geodesic dome the night before since I had none of the complex mathematical angles and measurements to hand, no internet, and no protractor. I love a good spatial logic problem though and managed to work it all out by cutting and folding circles. My cardboard structure was not proof enough, however, and I was still encouraged to make a ceramic version. I was happy to do this so that I would have a smaller sculpture too.

IMG_0575

Things happen slowly in the south of Spain. Work began at 9.30am and at 11.30 we could have a half hour break for second breakfast (bliss) before then finishing the working day at 2.30pm when the seven of us would reunite for lunch. Add to that all the delays of waiting for kilns and despite my manic productivity (except for post fiesta days) progress was a little slow. It became clear to me that my plans of making the larger shelter were looking a little unrealistic in the 10 week time frame. I made the decision not to pursue this initial plan. I loved the idea of leaving the structure in the grounds of the art school but I also knew that I could make the wooden structure anywhere and having made the small tiles, the process would have become somewhat routine. I had more exploring to do!

I love the aesthetic of decay and was massively inspired by the wonderful peeling and crumbling walls all over Cordoba. I was really enjoying experimenting with ceramics and to my delight, I was allowed to just play and make mistakes in my making of these ‘ceramic paintings’. I think that making mistakes is just as important a part in the creative process as the successes.

Embracing mistake making, process, material, and my new surroundings led to more creative discoveries. At one point, it was suggested that I make my geodesic sculpture entirely from ceramics, since I was there in the ceramics department and had the facilities and technical guidance to do so. The string element was important to the aesthetic but I liked the idea of making the structure from bone-like ceramic pieces along with the ceramic tiles as originally planned. This would make the structure both more rigid, and ridiculously fragile, and I enjoyed the poetry of that.

I made these ‘huesos’ (bones) from a ‘paperclay’ cocktail of paper mulch and porcelain. Of course they were much more difficult to fit together than wood, would have been. The lashing techniques I used to fit all the structural lengths together required a calculated excess at each end. In natural timber, these lengths could have been forced and bent into shape. It took some calculation to fit the porcelain hexagons and pentagons together. I had always intended for there to be gaps to create a shadow pattern inside the structure. The brittleness of the porcelain just added to this. The sculpture did not come together as the perfect, strong, geodesic dome but I was no longer intending this anyway. It looked vulnerable, natural and primitive, despite its mathematical beginnings. I was very pleased with the hauntingness of this outcome.

Upon making the huesos, I discovered that one of their most beautiful qualities was the sound they made as they rattled together. Another of my recent artistic obsessions has been pigeon scaring. I like the make-do-and-mend aesthetic of the weird pigeon scaring contraptions in cities, the countryside and particularly on allotments. In Cordoba, however, where nearly everything is ornately crafted and there seems to be no such thing as too much pattern, I wondered if I could make a beautiful bird scarer.

I had been keen to make sculptures which somehow used the elements, so using the wind and light to play off the porcelain seemed perfect. I set to work making hundreds of ridiculously fragile clay sausages which would form my ‘tree necklace’. I planned to tie them together and form a crazy wind-chime like piece to hang from the bottom of a branch. Many of them broke in the first firing, many more in the second, and more in the assembly of the sculpture. I enjoyed this fragility and the idea of these delicate white spear-like fragments falling to the ground when the wind blew in Spain’s bright sunshine. I enjoyed playing with the material and testing it to its limits, and beyond.

The by-product of this, of course, was hundreds of porcelain shards that didn’t make it into the pigeon scaring sculpture. Thinking again of fragile environments, both cosy and threatened, I was reminded of all the incredible stork’s nests I’d seen in the area. I wondered if a human could make one from tension and balance alone from such a delicate and rigid material. It turns out that I could! It felt like a performance just making it and I was pleased with how it looked. There was talk of glue, glazes, or just firing it to make it more permanent but in the end, I just left it on a wall in the school grounds, abandoned to the elements. I prefer the honesty of that.

I enjoy this process of not being too rigid about my ideas in order for new discoveries to be made. When I was about to photograph my bird scarer in one of the trees in the school grounds, I saw the stone sculpture of a female bather in the old empty swimming pool and thought I’d try it on her first. It felt so perfect, there it stayed. And I did get to leave a legacy in the school’s grounds after all.