Apr 25th 2020
Every month we will showcase three Visual Arts Scotland members, spotlighting their work & practice.
These showcased members will be chosen by a monthly guest curator. The invited curator will select makers & artists that interest them from our amazing membership. This will be based on a theme of their choice.
Curator: Amanda Airey
Amanda Airey has worked in the creative sector for over 20 years in a number of roles from bid writing, economic development and strategy. A fine art graduate, she continues her art practice focusing mainly on landscape and the natural world. She currently works at the Edinburgh Art Festival.
Amanda is currently one of Visual Arts Scotland's Vice Presidents.
I am drawn to invisible layers of history. How they are absorbed and deposited through individual journeys. How objects or materials become repositories of place, time and physical contact. The idea of time and connecting with the past fits especially well with fabric, a lot of the techniques I use have been passed down parent to child over manygenerations. The thread becoming a bridge. I use a combination of traditional hand working techniques such as knitting, crochet, rope making and stitch which allow me to engage physically with the work. Repeating, returning and re-cycling and recording through the creative process in a continuing loop. Destruction is necessary for transformation, it maybe I deconstruct a bed, it maybe I reduce plant matter to reconstitute into rope or it maybe I destroy an illusion of self. Often the destruction is a reabsorption of elements.
Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education
I graduated in 2018 with a BA(hons) in Fine Art Textiles from Moray College UHI, and am currently studying for my MA Art and Social Practice part time with Shetland College UHI. I originally studied for a BA Fine Art in 2002, focusing on photography and mixed media, then had a big break where life and bills took over before returning to gain my honours.
Could you describe your practice?
I work in cycles, gathering materials and data before responding to it. I work a lot with natural foraged materials and dyes investigating individual and group connections with place and identity. I use a combination of traditional hand working techniques such as knitting, crochet, rope making and stitch which allow me to engage physically with the work. Repeating, returning and re-cycling and recording through the creative process in a continuing loop. Destruction is necessary for transformation, it maybe I deconstruct a bed, it maybe I reduce plant matter to reconstitute into rope or it maybe I destroy an illusion of self. Often the destruction is a reabsorption of elements.
What are your art influences? Which contemporary artists/makers do you admire and why?
Anslem Kiefer, Edmund de Waal, Doris Salcedo all embody the role of artist as trickster, challenging society while making tactile, layered, intimate, works. Closer to home Will Maclean and Julie Brook as artists who work in and through the place and people. I spent some time last year on Lewis exploring the land works Maclean created in response to historic events and community impute. I like the way both of these artists have work dotted in the island landscape which anyone can stumble upon and interact with. I also love the metal quilts that Mark Lomax creates and the mixed media work of Ruth Singer and Alice Fox all of whom bend and blend art, textile and craft into wonderful hybrids that challenge preconceptions of Fine Art.
What makes a good day in the studio for you?
When I get lost in the rhythms of making and realise that it is 1.30 am and I have been at it all day.
In the studio – music, audiobook, podcast, Radio or silence?
Music, on headphones, on repeat.
What is coming up next for you and where can we see more of you work?
Things are like everyone else a bit up in the air for me. I recently had an exhibition at Eden Court in Inverness and this was going to be traveling around the north east but this has been put on hold. I have been working with LGBT+ and mental health groups and I want to continue developing my work with them. I have a couple of participatory projects currently running via social media, ‘where are we at?’ and ‘wee weavings’, in response to covid 19. https://www.facebook.com/groups/841655226301010/
I am the featured artist in the current issue of online LGBT+ magazine - Undividing Lines
I also have a website, Instagram and facebook accounts.
Work pictured: Recordings Rain and Shine (detail1) Mixed Media
Read more about Fiona here: https://www.visualartsscotland.org/artist-biography/fiona-percy