Approved: 14.02.2014

Jo Thomas

Artist, Researcher

Approved: 14.02.2014

My work is driven by an ongoing enquiry into the knowing and shaping of place that I understand as presencing place. I have been creating work in response to local everyday places that seeks to enable shifts from the ‘non–place’ to the rediscovery of the particular in these places, amplifying and enhancing ways of knowing and sensing. There is a phenomenological and holistic outlook that highlights the potential of small actions to confirm and enhance the quality of our connections with the world we are part of and through which we can experience a sense of interconnectiveness in everyday places.

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Biography

My work is driven by an ongoing enquiry into the knowing and shaping of place that I understand as presencing place. I have been creating work in response to local everyday places that seeks to enable shifts from the ‘non–place’ to the rediscovery of the particular in these places, amplifying and enhancing ways of knowing and sensing. There is a phenomenological and holistic outlook that highlights the potential of small actions to confirm and enhance the quality of our connections with the world we are part of and through which we can experience a sense of interconnectiveness in everyday places.

The work is made up of gestures in place. These include: 

Gesture 19 Dawn Walk 6.30am Standing in a local water meadow with others to witness dawn

Gesture 28 Intersections of timewalking through two periods of abrupt climate change 183ma apart

Gesture 45 Solar Noon Shadows gilding the shadow of a small weed at solar noon

I am an artist, researcher and lecturer.

CV & Education

2017 - Everyday Cure Alls, Charlbury Festival 2017, Oxon.

2015 - Readings from Notebooks. Vibrations Art Journal. The Old Firestation, Oxford

2015 -  Bee Islands Small islands of wildflowers for Art in Reading

2015 -  365 Dessins / 365 Drawings Galerie d’Anières:Switzerland  http://www.365drawings365dessins.co.uk

2015 - Print as a Verb. Exhibition curators : Peter Driver and Chris Mercier. Open Hand Open Space, Reading UK

2014 - Bright Futures. Sipson and Heathrow, London. Part of Haystacks with Kate Corder / Kathryn Bohm

2014 - Research Residency, curators: Rekha Sameer / Katarina Czikorova. Hontianski -Trstany, Slovakia

2014 - 365 Dessins / 365 Drawings Open Hand Open Space Reading, UK http://www.365drawings365dessins.co.uk

2013 - Presencing Place: A Research Journey (2013), Glass Tank Gallery, Oxford. An exhibition of documents and films showing 45 gestures completed during 5 years of practice based research.

2012 - Solar Noon Shadows, a project gilding shadows of small plants growing through tarmac with gold leaf. Cultivation Field curated by Kate Corder. Funded by Artscouncil South East. www.cultivationfield.org

2011 - Whitley Art Trail.
As curator/artist I worked with local people to bring art into their homes (participating artists: Mark Aerial Waller, TRIPOD, Steve McPherson, Martin Creed and Ann Rapstoff). The occupants were able to live with the work before it was shared with a wider public on a one night art trail. Funded by Earley Charities. www.whitleyartsfestival.co.uk

2010 - Hereabouts x, Whitley Art Festival Major Commission 2010 This culminated in a walk with over 60 people through urban edges into a local water meadow where we witnessed dusk on a constructed platform. Interventions and films were shown in an accompanying exhibition at Reading Museum. www.whitleyartsfestival.co.uk

2009 - Artist intervention for CIC Reading UK and Reading Borough Council, developing creative responses to the economic downturn in the town centre of Reading. http://www.readingtourism.org.uk/reading-uk-cic.html

2006 - Brasov Museum of Arts, Romania. Exhibition and site specific work in response to public drinking water fountains.

2005 - Urbanitas. Museum of Art, Constanta, Romania (2005) and Exhibition and site specific work in response to public drinking water fountains.

2004 - 2005 - Rising Water. This project received an Artplus Development Award in (2004) and was an Artplus Award Winner (2005) (Arts Council South East & Seeda). It took place across Oxford becoming part of Oxford Open Water Festival June (2004) and the Small Objects of Desire (organised by Jelly Gallery) at Museum of Reading. The project is described in ‘Isolarian – A different journey through Oxford’ by James Attlee. Chicago Press.

2010 /2011 - LV21 Artist Residencies. As part of artist group Figure Ground we developed and delivered 20 artist residencies on LV21, a light ship, on the Kent coast. Funded by Arts Council - South East and Seeda. http://figuregroundprojects.co.uk

Artist Networks
2013 - 2017  Figure Ground Road Trip. A series of short journeys which made up the ‘road trip’, and took place at intervals through 2014-2015.  We met with, and debated with emerging and more established practitioners who have self-initiated projects or artworks. We are in the publishing a website to be launched in 2017. Funded by Arts Council England http://figuregroundprojects.co.uk/

2008 - 2010 Connecting artists in public realm. A pilot project funded by a Nan Bursary 2008, NAN Artists Newsletter. http://figuregroundprojects.co.uk. This lead to the formation of Figure Ground and a series of practice seminars for artists working in the public realm across South East England to examine ways of working in public places. Funded by ACE, SEEDA and local authorities and arts organisations. 2009/2010. Figure Ground: a public discourse by Jo Thomas. (2010) An article on art in public places for The Artist Information Company http://www.a-n.co.uk/nan/article/617979.

2007 Hang On artists network, Reading initiated with Suzanne Stallard, Director of ‘jelly’ . This has put many artists in touch and helped build an arts community. It has since grown from a handful of people to an active website http://hangonartists.ning.com/

2006 – 2010 The Ideas Exchange (TIE) A founder member of TIE based at Ovada, Oxford, an artist discussion group. In spring 2008 Ovada invited us to undertake a residency and exhibition, the Gift. Supported by an Arts Council award and Oxford City Council. http://www.ovada.org.uk
 

Writing

2015 ‘The role of writing in practice and artist based research: a guide for pale green caterpillars and others.’ http://vibrationsartjournal.com/2014/08/12/vibration-ii-gestures/Gestures. Vibrations Art Journal.  Ed. Veronica Cordova de la Rosa. www.vibrationsartjournal.com

2010 ‘Figure Ground: a public discourse.’ Artists Newsletter  http://www.a-n.co.uk/nan/article/617979.
 

Teaching & Education Experience:

2015 - ‘Completing Practice Based Doctoral Research’ a collaborative lecture with Shirley Pegna (Sound Artist). Oxford Brookes University

2015 - CPD training for artists with Katy Beinart and Jack Brown (Figure Ground). Commissioned by FrancisKnight for In-Site, Kent http://figuregroundprojects.co.uk/

2013 - 2016 0.8 Associate Lecturer. Foundation in Art and Design. Reading College, Kings Road, Reading 

2012 - ‘Participatory Practices - an illustrated talk followed by a seminar.  Agents of Change Seminars. Oxford Brookes University

2012 - ‘Community Engaged Practice’ an artist talk and seminar discussing with Fine Art student group Hexatalk. Winchester School of Art.  

2009 Exploring creativity and place in Berkshire: Richard Wentworth, Jo Thomas, Steve Rock, Keira Martin and Louise O’Reilly. Public Talk, The Town Hall, Reading.             www.lorva.co.uk/images/WhatAreWeMadeOf.pdf

2006 – 2011 - 0.7 Lecturer for National Diploma in Art and Design and Foundation Studies (Fine Art). Reading College.                            

2002 – 2009 - Associate Lecturer for HND and BA Fine Art/Art in the Community. Thames Valley University, Faculty of Art
 

Education:

2008 - 2013  PhD Practice Based Art Research, Oxford Brookes University “Presencing Place: an enquiry into the knowing and shaping of place through expanded art practices”. The creative strategies and methods in the art practices produced during this research aim to uncover the potential of the particular in place, as a means of better inhabiting and engaging with the world we live in.

2003 -2006 MA Contemporary Art and Music, Oxford Brookes University, Awarded Distinction.

2003 Teaching Certificate CG 7407 Part 1 & 2. Thames Valley University, 2002 -3. Awarded Pass.

1986 – 89 BA Fine Art (time based arts), University of Wales, Cardiff, Awarded 1st class honours. 1988  - 2nd Year Student Prize for Time Based Studies.

1985-6 Foundation Studies in Art and Design. Falmouth School of Art. Awarded Pass.