Rooted in the processes and principles of Social Sculpture, Fern Thomas explores the potency and social relevance of the image in its broadest sense, working with participatory forms, object and text.
‘Magical’ resonances and the transformative capacities of the image act as an ongoing fascination and resource for works and collaborations which can be experienced through action, discussion, ‘activated spaces’, live and documented processes and the written and spoken word.
Research and works often explore:
how we live / relationship with other-than-human-beings / the historical & contemporary relevance of folk magic / healing processes/ transformative processes/ response-abilty* / our ecological future / the role of the imagination / inner and outer resources / pedagogical spaces & meeting places/ alchemy
* from Shelley Sacks
* * * * *
‘We can no longer divide the imaginative tasks of the inner field from the transformative, solution seeking work ‘out there’. It is therefore understandable that Thomas locates her enquiries in the field of social sculpture and connective aesthetic practices. This is work that is social and transformative not only because it is often participatory and future orientated, but most of all because it foregrounds the need to find new pictures, images and stories, as well as the new capacities and organs of perception needed to work like artists in the world.’
Written by Shelley Sacks, Director of Social Sculpture Research Unit, Oxford Brookes University. From the essay bird in the mind, bird in the world for Thomas’ solo show When the moon fell out of orbit at Mission Gallery, Swansea 2012.
Fern Thomas graduated from the MA in Social Sculpture at Oxford Brookes University in 2012 where she was awarded the Interdisciplinary Arts Prize in Social Sculpture and was supported by an AHRC Award. In 2013 she was a recipient of a Creative Wales Award from Arts Council Wales and in 2011 was winner of Mostyn Open selected by Richard Wentworth and Karen MacKinnon. She has exhibited in Norway, Mexico, New Zealand, Germany, USA and in venues across the UK including Anthony Reynolds Gallery in London. Her solo show When the moon fell out of orbit was held at Mission Gallery in 2012.
Recent projects and commissions include Office in Bed, a collaborative research group with members based in Wales and Denmark, The Green Room for Trust New Art Bristol with Owen Griffiths (2014), Ephemeral Coast at Mission Gallery (2014) and Let’s See What Happens…a three year exchange with artists from China and Swansea working with Glynn Vivian Art Gallery (2012).
Thomas is lead researcher at the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands. She is member of collaborative groups Office in Bed, Forever Academy, Art’s Birthday Wales and ATB and is a long time collaborator of Owen Griffiths. She is an affiliate of the Social Sculpture Research Unit based at Oxford Brookes University.