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.
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.
CV & Education
Solo exhibitions 2009 - Coppice, Gallery Maronie, , Kyoto, Japan 2004 - Sanctums, Gallery Maronie, Kyoto, Japan 1999 - Fiona Mathison Works, Takenaka Corporation Building, Osaka, Japan.
Group exhibitions 2013 - "It's a Beautiful World", Rhubaba Gallery and Studios, Edinburgh. 2011 - Inspired by. The Legacy of Anni Albers, Dovecot , Edinburgh 2010 - Inspired by. The Legacy of Anni Albers, Ruthin Craft Centre, Ruthin 2008 - Work in Progress, BSW Gallery, Exeter 2006 - Forest, Itami Cultural Foundation, Museum of Arts and Crafts Itami, Hyogo Province, Japan 2005 - Artapestry, Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Aalborg, Denmark 2004 - Hats and Gloves, Leicester City Art Gallery, Leicester 2003 - 1st International Textile Triennale, Gallery of Szombathely, Hungary 2003 - Object to Draw, University of Cleveland, USA 2002 - 7th International Mini Textiles Biennial, Musee Jean Lurcat et Tapisserie Contemporarie, Angers, France 2002 - Weaving Stories, City Art Centre, Edinburgh 2001 - 4, Saga Gallery, Kyoto, Japan 2001 - Karpit, Museum of Fine Art, Budapest 2001 - Meeting Points, Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh 2000 - 2nd International Flag Biennial, Gallery of Szombathely, Szombathely, Hungary 1999 - Edinburgh Makers, Gallery of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan 1999 - Woven Intimacies, New Jersey Centre for the Visual Arts, New Jersey 1998 - Budapest International Flag Biennial, Kepzo-es/parmuveszem Lektoratus, Budapest 1996 - International Biennial of Miniature Textiles, Kuusthalle, Szomathely, Hungary 1996 - Woven Image Contemporary Tapestry, Barbican Centre, London 1995 - Travelling Box Show, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Australia Tour 1993 - Triennale International Mintex, Angers, France, Tournat, Belgium 1991 - British Tapestry, UK Tour