Fiona G Roberts graduated from our MA Painting course last year. She has since been working in the Koppel Project Hive studios in central London, where she has just completed a residency and has had her work selected for several exhibitions.
We talked to Fiona about what she enjoyed most about studying the MA Painting at Wimbledon, her research into female representation in the arts and how her practice has developed in the last year since graduating.
What have you been up to since graduating from Wimbledon College of Arts?
Since completing my MA at Wimbledon I’ve been really busy. As soon as I left I had work selected for the Ingram Collection Young Contemporary Talent Purchase Prize exhibition, which was very exciting. This included mentoring by gallerists Breese Little which was extremely valuable.
Then I was lucky enough to have a painting selected for an exhibition at Studio One Gallery in London called Painting [Now], which was a survey of current practice and I was honoured to have my work included.
I began working in a studio space at the Koppel Project Hive in central London and since then I have exhibited my work there in a group show as part of an Open Studios event and have also taken part in a residency programme in the Koppel Project Hive Gallery. I have also just found out that my work has been shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2017.
How has your practice changed and developed since graduating?
My practice is constantly evolving. Although the core of my work is still ink on paper I have experimented a lot with other media, grounds and supports. I think my work developed particularly during my Koppel Project Hive Gallery residency. The different surroundings and working in a huge, light filled gallery space, as well as interacting with other artists I hadn’t met before, was particularly inspirational.
How would you describe your practice?
My work is concerned with power structures and the pressures and difficulties experienced by certain groups of people, especially women, in contemporary society. I use mainly ink on paper and relatively delicate and traditional materials as a counterpoint to modern, all pervasive, and sometimes overwhelming digital media. I attempt to convey something of the vulnerability of these groups in the face of neoliberal capitalism and its new technologies.
What was your favourite thing about the MA Painting course at Wimbledon?
The amazing people I met on all the different courses throughout the college. I made great friends and those relationships continue and have resulted in lots of exciting developments, including finding a studio space and collaborating on proposals for future work and exhibitions.
I’m also happy about the way the way my practice developed while at Wimbledon and the way that my interest in politics has come together with my art practice and how I have been able to engage with social issues through my work.
For instance, my research at Wimbledon uncovered overwhelming evidence that women in the art world are discriminated against at every level. In response to my research findings I recently completed over twenty sketches of female painters which I then made into a book. This work is titled FAO Georg Baselitz. Baselitz is a successful, elderly, white, male artist who repeatedly claims that ‘women can’t paint’. This particular work has just been shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize.
Had I not carried out this research during my MA, I would have been unaware of the full extent of the discrimination that is taking place now against women in the arts. I intend to continue my research in this area and to develop my work accordingly. Alongside my individual work I also have plans to collaborate with another artist whose practice is completely different to mine but whose experiences as an art student and a working artist are similar. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can create together.
What’s coming up next for you?
Another exhibition at the Koppel Project Hive Gallery, showing work created during the residency programme, the Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition and another residency, this time in Canary Wharf.
Learn more about studying MA Painting at Wimbledon College of Arts.
See the work of our current MA Painting students at the MA Summer Show! Find out more.