Fiona Campbell is in the cells

FIONA Campbell likes to work in interesting and unusual spaces, outside the confines of the conventional art gallery. It is, she says, conducive to experimental work – and that is certainly the case with her work in the cells below Trowbridge Town Hall, where her exhibition Offenders continues throughout May.

The Somerset-based artist was in residency at Town Hall Arts throughout April and the resulting exhibition explores some of the uncomfortable topics she confronted. She says: “Offenders may offend but more importantly, I hope it raises questions – are we all offenders given the state of our world today?”

The cells are intriguing, emotive spaces for site-responsive work. She says: “The steel bars are a metaphor for incarceration, crime and punishment, injustice, protest. I’ve wanted to make and show work in this space for years! My work has recently become more activist in approach.  I tend to use metaphor for message.

“Affected by personal events, loss, the recent death of my dog, I have become more attuned to the horrors that we are facing – our plastic oceans, increasing rich/poor divide, factory-farming, animal extinctions. I see the labour-intensive creative process of my work – weaving and wrapping – as a form of suturing, a cathartic healing and an effort to repair in response to destruction.”

Fiona’s work intersects sculpture, drawing and installation. Recycled and found materials – scrap steel, copper wires, readymade fabrics, twine and objects she finds around her are transformed into drawings in space, in a state of becoming.

Through her work she tackles environmental exploitation, fragile boundaries and life’s interconnections from cellular to planetary. Issues such as factory farming, animal welfare, caged beings, human imposition, restriction, injustice, over consumption and greed inform the content.