Tag Archives: sculpture

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015

I’m proud to announce that my quirky painting ‘Norman’ has been selected for this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Norman hides in plain sight. People walk past him and don’t realise who he is or what he’s been through. But when people see him, he reveals his secrets. He shows the fragility trapped behind his hard, masculine, weathered exterior. Is he just a workhorse, a utilitarian object or do his battered ribs show the life he’s led and survived? A badge of honour. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Once discovered, Norman has stories to tell from all that he has learnt, all that he has seen as a fly on the wall whilst the world acts out oblivious….

It was selected by art heroes Bill Woodrow and Alison Wilding for the Sculpture Room located in the Royal Academy’s Lecture Room, the first gallery on the right as you enter.

Varnishing Day, Royal Acedemy Summer Exhibition 2015

This year’s theme of colour devised by Michael Craig Martin gives the exhibition a joyful atmosphere. Perhaps some of the works compete against their colourful backgrounds but I like the invigorated atmosphere of the show.

I like how my almost monochromatic painting sits rather surreally against the sky blue walls of the Lecture Room. When I showed it in Turps Gallery for our interim show, I displayed it incredibly subtly, near the toilet door, and very low. It was tucked way below one of the ventilation grilles that inspired it. Many people didn’t notice it as a work on display but I was playing with observation and realisation.

'Norman' at Turps Gallery

I’m thrilled that it’s been placed so prominently in the Royal Academy and given such space in a generally jam packed salon hang! That the audacious humour of the piece was appreciated and for it to be hung with such prominence in such an establishment is an honour and a delight.

Just to the right of me are further art heroes Cornelia Parker and Richard Wilson!
The Summer Exhibition opens tomorrow until August 16th. If you go, please keep an eye out for Norman #1029

Varnishing Day, Royal Acedemy Summer Exhibition 2015

If you can’t make it along to the exhibition, then you can see everything in the exhibition on the new browsing feature on the RA website. You can find my work by it’s catalogue number 1029.

Surface Views

I suppose that with my interests in art and psychology, it’s natural that I’d be fascinated by how people move around an art gallery and how they engage with the artworks. I love noticing things that hide in plain sight and noticing how people react to things they’d usually ignore in the context of an art gallery where one it attuned to observe and contemplate.

Estate of Serenity, Oil on hinged board, 2014, 70x60x20cm

I decided to make a body of artwork encouraging the viewer not just to look but to see.

The scale and nature of the paintings encourages a private, voyeuristic experience of the erotically banal. Rather than hitting the viewer’s peripheral vision with a large painting I wanted to create structures that encourage the viewer to come closer and engage with the painting one at a time.

Invitation, oil on hinged board, 2014, 60x20x20cm

These “Surface Views” explore surface through form, inviting the viewer into a personal space in order to contemplate memento mori through urban decay. Where nature attacks the city, we are reminded of the transient beauty and the poetic beauty of imperfection.

Opening, Oil on board in found frame, 2014, 50x60cm

They create a paradox of entropic layers of paint depicting old paint affected by time and nature through trompe l’oeil. The depth of these layers is further distorted by the three dimensional form.

The implied use value of the visible hooks and hinges deepens the paradox.

Pipewerk, 2014, Oil on hinged board, 70x60x20cm

I investigate the way in which the banal and everyday can be humorously elevated through laborious scrutiny. My paintings playfully challenge our expectations of the urban environment and investigate the psychology of space. With attention, the most ordinary details can become magical or disturbing observations.

Pipewerk installed in it's site specific location...

A Place Exploration in the Lake District

I’ve had a history of good luck with the weather in the Lake District. They say you can never have more than two days in a row without rain and I’ve defied those odds on my last two visits. Many years ago, when doing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition, the baking sunshine seven days in a row was actually a curse when carrying nearly three stone on my back and having to worry about the amount of water we were carrying. This time, however, was quite a different story. I thought summer was over but the Indian Summer in the South of England made the late September weather in the Lakes bizarrely wonderful. We were in t-shirts for a few of the days.

Anyway, the reason I was there is that members of POST Artists were invited by the Mobile Institute to go and stay at Littoral‘s Cylinders Estate, home of the famous Kurt Schwitters Merz Barn. The aim of the residency or “Place Exploration” was to investigate our notions of place through a series of workshops and exercises run by the Mobile Institute. I loved exploring the Cylinders estate in such an in-depth way and thinking about a place that isn’t London for a change. It made my soul smile to get into such sublime beauty, climb mountains, watch dawn, cook and eat together, and to spontaneously make stuff. Just brilliant! My favourite exercise was a group object relations sculpture game which could have quite happily done all day, and when we made out own interventions on the estate. Mine was a contemplation chair. I had found a stone which I considered the perfect contemplation spot during an earlier workshop, however, it invites you to come and sit on it and dangle your legs over the edge giving a rather unremarkable view. Looking in another direction, there is a stunning view so I had already started wondering what the perfect contemplation spot would be. Placing the chair at this angle allowed both comfort and the beautiful view but the nasty plastic chair sits somewhat uncomfortably with the natural surroundings and feels like cheating. I weighed it down with a rather ominous looking rusty iron hoop and chain on the back and a new plastic rope with a log tied to the other. On the one hand, this was just the simplest way of doing something practical. I like the elegance of practicality. On the other hand, it added a new level of narrative (possibly too much!) and was, to me at least, another humorous measure.

Contemplation Chair

On the last day, we made collages from a single local newspaper. I had so much fun making the demonry (a rather surreal combining of mismatched pictures and headlines) that my Dad taught me to do when I was little. I enjoyed engaging the same kind of humour I used for the Contemplation Chair, albeit in a very short space of time. People laughed when they saw the collage too rather that the uncomfortable glances that I had made some sort of torture device. I enjoyed the limitation of it coming from one publication. I am about to embark on a series of city portraits with a collaged feel so the idea of making at least one per day from free London newspapers appeals to me. It was a thoroughly inspiring trip, and this is one of the more obvious immediate results from it. I look forward to finding out how it continues to affect my practice later. It seems appropriate that I recapture my love of surreal collage whist at the Merz Barn!

Lake District demonry

Many thanks to Littoral for hosting us and to the Mobile Institute for such a rewarding programme.

Formal Paintings of Informal Sculptures

Floral Burial ("Formal Paintings of Informal Sculptures" series)

Some paintings from my latest series. I am often intrigued by the collections of objects I encounter in the street, placed unconsciously or accidentally in what could have been a formal arrangement. If placed in a different context like a gallery, how would they be perceived differently? By painting these banal collections, I hope to highlight the way that people perceive the arrangements of objects that surround them. These collections are painted rather than literally re-displayed in order to humorously elevate them through the sheer laborious attention they’ve already been paid. It also questions the history of still life painting, street art, and the “found object” in sculpture.

Chasm ("Formal Paintings of Informal Sculptures" series)

Blue Ocean ("Formal Paintings of Informal Sculptures" series)

Q Art Presents, Show Convenor


One of the interesting events at the Q Art Presents exhibition at the APT Gallery in Deptford was an end of show convenor. Exhibitors were given the chance to talk about their work and have a Q&A session. I always find this process so helpful as it highlights elements of the work which are and are not working.

I find it interesting how universal our fascination with bones is. I think it’s something primal in us that makes us more aware of our own mortality. Part repulsion, part intrigue; a freak show of objects. I’ve found similar effects with fur, skin, and wood. We are drawn to our caveman past like staring into the flames of a fire.

This piece is called ‘Bones’. An intentionally literal title. It is a new version of a piece I first conceived of during my residency at the Chinese Arts Centre. The first Chinese calligraphy was found carved into bones so I thought it would be interesting to dye bones entirely with Chinese ink and use each bone as a calligraphic stroke, with smaller bone fragments mirroring the way the ink stroke fragments on textured paper as the ink runs out.

I opted for the character for bones partly because it is so literally describing what its made from, and that amused me. I was also motivated by the fact that, to me, the character looks like a human figure, showing both our bones as the framework of us, and elements of characters, letters, ink strokes, as the framework of language and visual language. ‘ told that the top of the character means flesh, and the bottom part means bones, together meaning bones. It is customarily polite to ask for a bone if you actually want flesh.


Thanks to Jess Blandford for the bottom photo. You can see more of her photos from the whole show here.

A huge thank you to Sarah Rowles who founded Q-Art, a great organisation, and Erica Shiozaki who co-curated the show with Sarah. A lot of hard work and a great result. There were some wonderful relationships occurring between the works in the show, particularly the triangulating black fragments in the front space. Bliss!

Q Art Presents 2010


Originally uploaded by fionalongart.

I’m pleased to be taking part in this year’s Q Art Presents exhibition at APT Gallery in Deptford. It’s a really amazing space.

The show comprises work from nearly 40 graduate and undergraduate artists from London’s top art schools.

The show runs from the 19th – 28th November
Private View Thursday 18th November 6-8pm
Deptford Last Fridays Opening 26th November 6-8pm

APT Gallery Deptford, Harold Wharf, 6 Creekside, Deptford, London SE8 4SA

There are some great events running alongside the show including:

Tuesday 23rd November. Self Assembly with Artquest
Saturday 27th November 1-5pm: Explore and Function, South London Tour with Jotta and Q Art
Sunday 28th November 1.30-5pm with artists from the show talking about their work. I’ll be talking about my work fairly early on in this time period.

I hope you can make it along to the show!

View Larger Map

Nearest rail stations Deptford and New Cross or DLR stops Deptford Bridge or Greenwich.

frustrated play

frustrated play

Originally uploaded by fionalongart.

Here is my piece I’m currently showing at Rhizomatic, a huge group show at Departure Gallery, a nomadic gallery set up in enormous warehouses in Southall.

I got the suitcase from a kind lady from Freecycle. It wasn’t what I expected from the description but when I arrived at her house she was telling many tales of woe about people who had let her down and not arrived or messed her about, I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t want it after all! It came from her recently departed mother’s attic. The case was locked but when I got it home I discovered a train set inside! Another thing to work out what on earth to do with! I then realised that the suitcase would be useful for transporting the work to the gallery when the idea for this sculpture hit me.

I feel sorry for children who are so mollycoddled these days that they are barely allowed to play any more. No tree climbing, no bows and arrows, no getting clothes dirty. This has inspired much of my work in the past. There are layers of that, travel and a certain playful naughtiness intended in this piece.

The show is looking fantastic. There’s a huge variety and it’s really interesting to see how the different pieces work in the space and with each other.

photo kindly taken by John Ling

Degree Show

From my degree show, “Forest Fresh”: this uncanny collection of wood has all been touched to a certain degree by the human hand, and the machine; an exploration of materials, our human impact upon them and the space we live in. There is a confrontation of the relationship between sculpture and painting; how the two and three dimensional can be combined. These wooden ‘plinths’ become figures; their limbs dismembered like Ancient Greek statues. The ‘objects’ on the plinths mounted like heads on necks are pareidolic paintings; images of face-like fragments found in the city. The doors, jointed in L shapes lose any of their original funtionality but become more obviously 3-dimensional objects. What we imagine should be vertical, takes on a horizontal plane too, distorting our perspective on the world. The dimensions of the human body affect the measurements of a door. By placing a figure like object within the door shape, the way we measure those ‘bodies’ is affected. They are now ‘contained’ within the doors, the whole ensemble contained within the grey walls. The figures form a circle, as if performing some ancient rite. This anachronistic ensemble could confront how we view our material place in the world.

Soundscape for an Away Day

Performance composed and conducted by Sonia Paco-Rocchia and performed by Colliers Wood Choir. Sonia responded to five of the Away Day sculptures and this is her response to my ‘Pylon Idol’. It was really interesting to hear the group’s musical interpretation of my sculpture. I was also amused by some local kids joining in over the fence! A true community piece! ;0)