Fiona MacDonald’s forthcoming exhibition, Woodland Portrait Project, is about place, connectedness, imagination, and human-nonhuman relationship. It emerges from a persistent engagement “with one smallish, ordinary-extraordinary wood near the M25 in Kent”.
Woodland Portrait Project is an immersive, seductive, multidisciplinary installation, mirroring the discovery and detail found in woodland, where disparate large and small things nest and entangle to produce a unique ecology. Large sculptural drawings (made via monumental tree rubbings) act as macro structures, dividing the space visually, some acting as projection screens. Paintings, sculptures, prints, videos, audio, and photographs enhance these drawing installations. All the work has been made in and with the woodland, using its materials and inhabitants, as muse, collaborator and correspondent.
The intimacy of MacDonald’s engagement is used as a way in to explore about how humans respond to, are enriched by, and are embedded in, the wild places they spend time with. Although these places may be ‘brownfield’, circumscribed, or perhaps prosaic, they are still fascinating and valuable. Woodland Portrait Project interprets and promotes a ‘flattened’ ontology – a world view that is less anthropocentric, and which highlights “the material agency or effectivity of nonhuman or not-quite-human things”. As such MacDonald is reorienting perceptions of landscape away from vista towards the complexity and interrelatedness of human-nonhuman activity.
About the Artist
Fiona MacDonald lives and works in Kent. She was Abbey Fellow in Painting at the British School at Rome in 2011. Previous solo shows include Works from the Mirrored Series at 10 Gresham Street 2011, Morphology at Maddox Arts in 2009, Anthropoflora at Long and Ryle 2007 and Habitat at Phoenix Arts, Brighton in 2006. She trained at Chelsea College of Art and Leeds Metropolitan University.