Above and Below with Fiona Campbell

SOMERSET-based environmental artist Fiona Campbell has a beautiful and fascinating installation, with two themes, Above and Below and Flags of the Forest, at Create@#8 in Town Street, Shepton Mallet, open daily until Saturday 18th March.

Above and Below, which the artist describes as “a response to the entanglements and cycles of life that make up earth’s stratas,” is an installation of ongoing work, following her three-week residency in the large empty shop space, which provides an atmospheric setting for the work.

Fiona has been developing work related to the natural world, as part of an Arts Council England award scheme, Developing Your Creative Practice, which also supported her recent research trip to Kenya.

The installation, with a soundscape created in response to Fiona’s work by Ushara Dilrukshan, includes suspended, wall-mounted and freestanding works in the empty shop space, with a few pieces from her Life in the Undergrowth project.

Linked to her exhibition, Fiona will be running an eco sculpture workshop on Saturday 18th from 2 to 4pm, at Create@#8. Booking for the workshop is via eventbrite.

Two of Fiona’s 2023 works created will be exhibited in Wander_Land, a group show at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens and Gallery near Penzance, throughout July. The exhibition will feature new sculpture from the South West focusing on landscape and walking, by members of the Royal Society of Sculptors.

As an award-winning environmental artist, Fiona constantly features sustainability in her work, wherever possible using reclaimed, discarded and found materials. She has created site-responsive work for interesting public spaces, reaching the wider public who may not have engaged with contemporary art before.

She says: “My approach is a form of suturing, slow art, artivism. This relates to concerns about climate breakdown, human exploitation of nature and over-consumption, which has led to catastrophic mass animal/plant extinctions. Labour-intensive, the binding, weaving, hand-stitching and re-appropriation of materials considers value, care and repair, making do, our relationship with matter, nature, and ourselves.

“Flags of the Forest is inspired by woodlands. The flags celebrate bio-diversity, hopeful of nature being more cared for, and thriving.  These involve a combination of sculptural lines and fields of colour in space – hand-stitched patchworks of semi-translucent textiles and plastic remnants. Some I’ve botanically dyed, eco-printed or embedded with found objects collected on walks. Woods and forests provide vital ecosystems – crucial to our survival,’ says Fiona.

Two of the pieces created this year will also be exhibited in Wander_Land, a group show at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens and Gallery featuring work by members of the Royal Society of Sculptors.

Photographs of Fiona Campbell and visitors to the exhibition by Russell Sach