Fiona Grady: From The Windows, To The Walls

I've seen Fiona's work around for a while, it is instantly colourful, playful and pretty neat. It's been great to catch up with her to hear more about the meaning and process behind what she creates. Her work is now on show as part of @dateagleart's 'The Pink Panther Show' at Gallery 46

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For people who aren’t familiar with your work, start by giving us a bit of an overview of what you create and the themes you explore.

The primary focus of my practice is systematic drawing; it manifests as site-responsive installations on walls, windows and floors, and works on paper. The geometric artworks recognize the relationship between architecture, installation art and decoration. They play with light, surface and scale; each piece changes with the light of day emphasizing the passing of time and the ephemeral nature of the work. Colour is also very important, my palette alternates between muted subtle tones and bright contrasting colours, dependent on the environment.

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I am influenced by the everyday moments that we often miss, such as patterns created by architecture and design. I seek to find ways of representing the interplay of light and shadows using geometric motifs.

Your larger and probably most popular works are site-responsive, tell us what this means and the way that they are created. 

I’ve always consider my primary practice to be drawing. When studying, I trained as a printmaker rather than painter so I’ve never felt a strong inclination to work on a traditional canvas. I began working directly onto walls during my Masters at Wimbledon UAL; partly led by my admiration of artists Sol LeWitt and Bridget Riley. I found that a wall drawing can only ever be the perfect size as you are restricted by its physical layout. In addition, creating site-specific work introduces a range of factors that are out of your control, these limitations can help determine and influence the final result. I find these challenges exciting. 

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As my work references windows and daylight, it was a natural progression to start working directly onto windows. The window installations are made using coloured transparent vinyl. It’s an exciting material to work with as it’s quick to apply and has a strong presence. In direct day light the vinyl casts beautiful shadows of colour into the room even on dull days it looks vibrant.

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You mentioned a new work which you’ll be creating in situation, what can we expect from this?

For The Pink Panther Show I am creating a new site specific window installation that moves across various windows in the gallery. The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the brief is the unforgettable theme by Henry Mancini. It has such a strong and distinctive signature style. I wanted to express the rhythm, colour and slippery nature of the Pink Panther character in my artwork.

Therefore, I have designed a series of works that are somewhat intangible, appearing in windows across the gallery. It would be impossible not to use pink as the base of the colour scheme which will be in combination with purple and blue shapes. They will projecting coloured shadows into the room when in contact with direct sunlight. The designs will have a sense of movement that will intonate waves of sound around the gallery.

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A theme I’ve been obsessed with for the past year and still haven’t fully realised is that of the form and function of windows. For me, they’ve inspired drawings and paintings. They play a part in the creation of your works too, how do they inspire you?

Definitely, daylight is integral to the majority of my installations as it interacts and activates the drawings. Windows are means of joining the inside and outside - they provide an opening for our imaginations. Using windows has allowed me to create a narrative between the gallery and the external world. It expands the potential of the drawings allowing them to extend into another dimension of space. 

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Follow Fiona @fiona_grady