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Fiona Chaney – Artist of the Month

How would you describe your current practice. 

My current practice addresses space and the use of line and colour in relation to the function of narrative – that is to say as they become signifiers of the narrative as painting/print/video.

What are you working on at the moment.

With a background knowledge of Laban dance notation and as a former dancer/choreographer I am currently using a range of spatial exercises alike musical scales which flow in and around geometric forms to forge my praxis of Space Harmony. The Sacred Dance and Sacred Geometry and the quest to embody the spiritual in art remain for me subjects of fascination in a 2019 cultural environment which would appear to negate these themes. In parallel to my new body of work I am also engaged in printmaking from steel plates responding to the environment, silk screen printing and landscape painting.

What are your plans for the coming year? 

I am currently shortlisted for R.A Summer Exhibition. Participating in Digswell Arts Forge Open Studios. Working on a collaborative Exhibition of works with Antoinette Momtahan for 2020. I have also submitted works for The Cambridge Open and will be showing with Digswell Printmakers in July 2019. Exhibiting with East London Printmakers Dec 2019.

What or who inspired you to be an artist and why? 

My early training at the Juilliard School NYC and the Merce Cunningham studios exposed me to many notable artists whom I admired and learnt from both in the studios and later on in performance.

The legacy of artists such as Isamu Noguchi , Martha Graham, John Cage who worked closely with Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg who worked with Cunningham and Cage, Jasper Johns, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman and then the early 20th century artists such as Debussy, Schoenberg, Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian, Duchamps are of constant inspiration to me.

However, it is also the work of Maurice Merleau Ponty – Phenomonology of Perception and notably the works of T.S Eliot that have also played a big part in informing me in my practice.

How has your relationship with Digswell Arts strengthened your practice as an artist?

Since becoming a Fellow at Digswell Arts in October 2018 I have found that my practice has strengthened in that I have managed to tease out the seminal aspects of my work. I am also building a relationship with other artist’s that is giving fruit to a rich exchange of ideas and potential opportunities for future collaboration. Having a studio space and also access to the Printroom at Digswell has allowed me the freedom to experiment without time constraints, along with the invaluable exchange of knowledge from other members.

What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?

The question that I find I am asked the most is, ‘ How did you make the transition from dancer/choreographer/lecturer to visual artist’? ‘ the creative process is very much the same, however the use of materials are different. In learning to understand the use of materials/techniques and their power as a vehicle  to communicate ideas of one’s vision of the world is one of the reasons I found it necessary to return to full time study at art school. Also, today many artists do not work in one discipline. Many, including myself, work across art forms in an interdisciplinary manner’.

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