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Fiona MacDonald - The Open College of the Arts

Fiona MacDonald

Fiona MacDonald : Feral Practice

I studied painting at Leeds Metropolitan University graduating in 1992, and completed an M.A. in History and Theory of Modern Art at Chelsea College of Art. I was awarded the Abbey fellowship in painting at the British School at Rome in 2011. I am currently completing my practice-based PhD at UCA, the sister college to OCA.

My work emerges in dialogue. For a long time, this was primarily via painting as lively, mobile arena for conversation between artist, world and materials. I am interested in the intimacies and contrasts of touch and mark-making, texture and gesture, colour and detail. Since 2012 my work has expanded into a transdisciplinary and ecological space. I work with human and nonhuman beings as Feral Practice, to create art projects and interdisciplinary events that develop ethical and imaginative connection across species boundaries. For example, collaborating with plant scientists and the public to create Ask Somerset’s Plants, a series of podcasts that bring plant knowledge to bear upon human problems.

Though my current work often sees me producing digital work in HD video and sound I am still in love with visceral stuff: paint, clay, fabric, mud, leaves. I also like working with people, but they are not always human.

I have worked as a curator and educator since 2003. My current teaching includes B.A. Fine Art at UCA in Canterbury, plus tutoring, mentoring, workshops, masterclasses etc for the Royal College of Art, Open School East, Invisible Dust, Winchester School of Art, among others. I was curator of Standpoint Gallery 2006-2016. I founded and ran Standpoint Futures development residencies for visual artists 2010-2018.

In teaching I am particularly interested in helping students to seek out and align their art practice with their own core motivations and fascinations, and encouraging working methods that explore a situated view on the world (including challenging normalised hierarchies of knowledge) alongside developing experimental techniques and vision. I am proud to support OCA’s innovative teaching model, which increases access to the power, resilience and creativity of art education.

Feral Practice’s work has been shared with human audiences as painting, installation, drawing, participatory performance, lecture, radio broadcast, sound art, moving image, and text. Recent work has been exhibited at Somerset Art Weeks, LUX London, Governors Island NYC, Bánkitó Fesztivál Hungary, Taipei Biennale 2018, Radical Mycology USA, Furtherfield Gallery London, PEER UK, The Bluecoat, UNESCO Paris. The site specific series Ask the Wild with Marcus Coates has been performed at Whitechapel Gallery, Tate St Ives, Turner Contemporary, Whitstable Biennale, and the South London Botanical Institute.


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