Fiona Mathison

Fiona Mathison

Artist, Maker, Lecturer / academic

Though tapestry weaving was my starting point, my practice has developed and evolved and lies now within installation, creating spaces where the viewer can be both the observer and the observed. Visual art as in all art is a way for us to enter other worlds: there are no answers there only propositions like notions of heaven, paradise or parallel universes. The world I explore is one which
plays with real and reflected space and with contrasting scales.
Vertical elements, like pillars or trees are often placed within the space; they both interrupt it and bridge the gap between the floor and ceiling stressing the distance between but supporting only themselves. These spaces are immersive, they may be playful or made from the everyday materials that surround us but they will also reference another world, possibly one we cannot physically enter.

Having recently retired from a career teaching in art school, I have been taking time to explore rather than make large works, to draw, examine and reflect.

Career path:

Education: Fiona Mathison graduated from Edinburgh College of Art, and then from Royal College of Art, London.
Employment: She worked at the Dovecot Studios, initially as weaver, later part time as Artistic Director and Consultant when she worked on major projects with Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Tom Phillips, Louise Nevelson, Harold Cohen and Frank Stella. She left in 1988.
In 1975 she began a full-time lectureship in Tapestry at Edinburgh College of Art. Tapestry, originally in Design, was repositioned within the Painting School in the 80's. Students were encouraged to develop a contemporary art practice that fell outside the discipline of painting and naturally grew increasingly less connected to tapestry weaving. More recently and appropriately, the Tapestry department has been renamed Intermedia: it continues to flourish.
Practice: The early work was tapestry woven and exhibited nationally and internationally within that context, but increasingly Fiona Mathison's enquiry and developing practice led her away from wall based tapestry weaving, to constructed objects and installations. After a short residency in Kobe, in 1999 she became involved in a series of exhibitions with Japanese artists beginning with 'Meeting Points' part of 'Japan 2001'. In addition to showing work regularly in Japan, she arranged study trips, student exchanges and worked on a Daiwa funded project with students from Kyoto Seika University and Edinburgh College of Art. Fiona Mathison retired from teaching at the end of 2010 and now works in the Rhubaba Studios in Edinburgh. This year has been a time of reflection and reassessment of her practice.
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Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Activities Lecturing, Practice-based research, Residencies, Workshops, Private commissions
Artforms / type of project Drawing, Installation, Mixed Media, Photography, Textiles