(selected by Sorcha Dallas)
April is the Cruellest Month (Facades), 2006
Fiona Jardine is an artist and writer based in Glasgow, a graduate of the MFA at Glasgow School of Art. Since graduation in 2003 she has exhibited widely in cities in the UK as well as Rotterdam, Mexico City, Athens, Antwerp, New York, Paris and Montreal. Installations of sculptures, collages and drawings have drawn upon a range of literary and art historical sources, with references to the work of early Modernist writer T.S. Eliot (his poem 'The Waste Land' and poetic drama 'Sweeney Agonistes') and American post-modern painting and literature (Robert Longo and Brett Easton Ellis). Jardine works in dialogue with her previous works - referring back, incorporating them, or working in series - and in dialogue, or collaboration, with other artists. 'Gercha!', 2004 was a set of posters designed for Tatham & O'Sullivan in the group show Gercha! (2004). Using a process of layering details from works by Bridget Riley and Jasper Johns, each version, through the word play employed, referred to Tatham & O'Sullivan's own linguistic concerns; these drawings were later printed on fabric and used in the construction of garments by Glasgow artist Lisa Gallacher. Jardine also designed the poster and wrote the text to accompany Tatham & O'Sullivan's recent show, The Pyramid (The Watchie, Catterline, Aberdeenshire, 2006).
Sweeney, a solo project at Intermedia, Glasgow (2005), was an installation of delicate pencil drawings and relief sculptures based on bleak and often pagan symbols, derived in part from the grotesque imagery of the pre-Christian Green Man. The use of a type of paper pulp papier mache, which withers and shrinks as it dries, served as a metaphor for Jardine's literary interests: the process of desiccation reflecting a central motif in Eliot's work. 'Sweeney, apeneck Sweeney, Sweeney shifting from ham to ham, is the Sweeney of T.S. Eliot's early poetry and his first dramatic excursion 'Sweeney Agonistes', via Patricia Cornwell's Sickert fantasies, by way of Robert Longo, Brett Easton Ellis and Francis Rabelais, back to Eliot's own later orthodoxy. The journey reifies Sweeney in line with the imperatives of the 20th century only to fracture his individual identity'. (Intermedia press release, 2005).
April is the Cruellest Month
April is the Cruellest Month (Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2006) was a two-person exhibition with London-based artist Will Daniels. The title is taken from the first line of T. S. Eliots 'The Waste Land (1922) and reinforces the poetic links between both artists' practices - the production of funereal 'memorial' facades in Jardine's case, and reiterations of classics in Daniels', together with the strong material links between their work. Jardine's imposing relief sculptures, built from basic lo-fi materials, made liberal and loose references to Classical and arcane architectural features: a pair of funereal facades designed with allusions to Wall Street boardrooms and ancient portals (in particular the facade to the 'Midas Monument', and Anatolian tomb chamber dating from the 9th or 8th century B.C.). Darren Rhymes comments, 'The central sculpture is placed between the supporting columns that are a feature of Transmission Gallery, suggesting an object on the brink of architecture. It is almost tall enough to be bigger than the viewer (you can't see the top of it) yet it is not quite tall enough to assert itself and dispel the association of the body. Its surface shouts interior bodily suggestion, huge guts made from running splurts of expanding foam with a brown gloss paint finish'. (1)
The pillars, an abject counterpart to the white columns of the gallery space - referencing Jardine's interest in the writing of Francis Rabelais - appear to take their form from 'an organisation of mollified entrails, arsepipes and larries, belying their Gargantuan origins. Resonant with their rude craft, hi-gloss and leathery, their presence in the gallery sets up an uneasy limbo, neither interior nor exterior, neither now nor then, and acts as a foil for Will Daniel's paintings'. (Transmission Gallery press release, 2006).
Many recent projects have resulted from collaborations, devising wall drawings in response to the artist she is showing with, reflecting the drama and tension between support and contextualisation. In this vein she has worked with the French artist Lili Reynaud-Dewar at Public, an artist-run space in Beaubourg, Paris (Egg Nogs and Flips, 2005). Reynaud-Dewar's sculptures drew on prototype designs for Bertone Sports cars; using a motif from a Ralph Lauren advert, Jardine's wall paintings used a futurist design as a foil for her sculptures, emphasising a strident, camp femininity. Responding to the gallery's unusual shape - its two main walls face each other at an obtuse angle - the artists created an entirely symmetrical installation.
During 2006 Jardine was invited by Leisure in Montreal (a curatorial enterprise of Susannah Wesley and Meredith Carruthers) to make a new work alongside Montreal artist Lauren Nurse in a temporary gallery space. Jardine made a new version of the 'Sweeney Agoniste', with a black 'memorial square' instead of its accompanying relief, incorporating an image derived from her series of collage 'grotesques' wall paintings. How to do White, an installation of painting and drawing, was an experimental collaboration with Lisa Gallacher and Hanna Hewetson, moving into different territory where fine art and fashion collide and diverge, commenting on notions of style, trend-setting and cultural cliche (Tramway, Glasgow, August - September 2006).
Fiona Jardine studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (1994-1998) and Glasgow School of Art (2001-2003). She has undertaken residencies at Cove Park, Argyll (June-September 2006), Dumbreck Marsh Art Project (April June 2005), and during 2005 received project awards from the Scottish Arts Council, Glasgow City Council and the British Council. Recent exhibitions include How to do White (with Lisa Gallacher & Hannah Hewetson), Tramway, Glasgow (2006); Madame la Baronne, Centre d'Art Mira Phalaina, Montreuil (2006), April is the Cruellest Month (with Will Daniels), Transmission, Glasgow (2006); New Work (with Lauren Nurse), Leisure, Montreal (2006) and the Armory Show (with Transmission), New York (2006).
She is represented by Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow.
1. Darren Rhymes, unpublished review of April is the Cruellest Month, 2006.
Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow
Public, Beaubourg, Paris