Fascinated by slowness, silence, mountain, river, bell and stone; Fern Thomas seeks to explore her relationship with the ecological, archetypal and mythological world around her. Manifesting in action, live or documented, her process-led and intuitive explorations often take the form of a physical interaction or ‘meeting’ between herself and a place, a dream, a history or another being.

Focusing on simple transformative gestures or responsive actions, Thomas allows for a slow and careful dialogue to reveal what is hidden, buried or lost.

Based in Swansea, Thomas has exhibited nationally and internationally including Germany, New Zealand, and Mexico. Her solo show When the moon fell out of orbit was held at Mission Gallery in 2012 and her video work ‘Divination’ was selected to be part of Curator’s Egg Altera Pars at Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London in 2012. In September 2013 Thomas will be part of Let’s See What Happens… a major group exhibition featuring Wales based artists Tim Davies, Paul Emmanuel and Owen Griffiths with three artists from China curated by Karen MacKinnon for Glynn Vivian Art Gallery’s offsite programme.

Thomas is a winner of Mostyn Open 2011, Welsh Artist of the Year (Photography) 2009, was a recipient of an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award in 2011/2012 and was recently awarded the Interdisciplinary Arts Prize 2013 at Oxford Brookes University for her work for her Masters in Social Sculpture. In 2010 Thomas was shortlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Amateur Scientist of the Year for the project For the Bees with collaborator Owen Griffiths.

Thomas is a member of collaborative groups Supersaurus, FAO, and Arts Birthday Wales and in 2011 worked with Griffiths to develop Forever Academy, a DIY Art School in partnership with Axis.  Thomas studied for her MA in Social Sculpture at Oxford Brookes University where she developed the post apocalyptic research unit Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands. Follow: www.imaginedfuturesunknownlands.org

Selected Exhibitions:

Be Our Guest, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales, June 2013

Rhôd, Drefelin, Carmarthenshire, May 2013

IAM Festival, Oxford with the institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands, Sept 2012

Festival of Ideas, Swansea with the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands at Vetch Veg hosted by Glynn VIvian Art Gallery, Sept 2012

Emergence Summit, Wales commissioned work in response to land journey and conferene at Centre for Alternative Technology, Sept 2012

When the moon fell out of orbit from the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands, Solo Show, Mission Gallery, Swansea, June 2012

Oriel Davies Open 2012, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, April 2012

Curator’s Egg, Altera Pars, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London, February 2012

Audiograft, Festival of Sonic Art, Sonic Art Research Unit, Oxford, February 2012

Two Sides Of The Same Coin, The Russian Frost Farmers, New Zealand, Nov 2011

Mostyn Open 2011, Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno, May 2011

Spotlight, OVADA offsite at Oxford Town Hall, site-specific commission, November 2010

Identidades 04, Museum del Estado, Morelia, Mexico, 2008

Obsessions, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, 2008

Expo: Plymouth in association with Sonic Arts Network London and i-Dat, Plymouth, 2007

War and Peace 07: Bath Film Festival, Watershed, Stroud Valley Artspace Festival, 2007

Experimentica 06, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, 2006

ART I-G, Hanover Germany, 2005

OXDOX: Oxford International Documentary Film Festival, Artist Film, Oxford, 2005

Awards:

Interdisciplinary Arts Award for Social Sculpture Practices Oxford Brookes University 2013

Arts & Humanities Research Council Award, Oxford Brookes University 2011-2012

Mostyn Open 2011 Winner, Selected by Richard Wentworth and Curators Karen MacKinnon and Anders Pleass

Shortlisted for ‘So You Want to Be a Scientist’ BBC Radio 4 Amateur Scientist Award for socially engaged and sound based project ‘For the Bees’, 2010. In collaboration with Owen Griffiths. Working with a specially formed choir to sing to bee hives throughout the summer of 2009.

Welsh Artist of the Year, Photography and overall runner up 2009

Events, Curatorial and Organisation:

When the birds have gone, Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands, Rhôd, May 2013

Fragment|Lion|Bell live work, IAM Exhibition, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, September 2012

Store (for future) participatory work at Emergence Summit, with Owen Griffiths, Machynlleth, September 2012

Unknown Lands weekly performance part of When the Moon fell out of orbit exhibition, Swansea, July 2012

Facilitation of ‘Unknown Lands Journeys’ working with participants from university part of When the Moon fell out of orbit exhibition, Mission Gallery, Swansea, July 2012

Forever Academy organiser of a DIY Art School in collaboration with Axis: the online resource for contemporary art. Working with artists from across the UK. Swansea, November 2012

For the Bees, lead artist on socially engaged artwork in collaboration with Owen Griffiths. Funded by ACW and the Co-operative. Working in partnership with International Year of Biodiversity 2010, Taliesin Arts Centre and Swansea Community Farm. Featured on BBC Radio 4.

Zen Garden, Installation, Live participatory event and site specific performance, FAO Collaborative group, Commissioned by National Theatre of Wales, Cardiff, September 2009

Sofas in the City collaborator on Social Sculpture project in association with Social Sculpture Research Unit, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, 2004

 

Relevant Experience:

Fine Art Lecturer lecturing in professional practice, studio practice and visual studies, Swansea Metropolitan University Sept 2012 – June 2013

Cape Farewell and Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, Presenter of work and Swansea Metropolitan student participation facilitator, Swansea, January 2013

Fine Art Lecturer lecturing in professional practice, Swansea Metropolitan University Sept 2011 – March 2012

Selector for MAstars, Axis. 2009

 

Artist Residencies:

Bridging the Gaps, Swansea University, September 2012 – March 2013

Aberystwyth Arts Centre, September 2009 – November 2009

Writer in Residence for ‘The Rant’, Axis, axisweb.org, April – July 2009

Reviews and Publications:

Workbook: Bridging the Gaps Residency, August 2013

Curators Egg, Altera Pars, Art Monthly, February 2012

For the Bees, Arts & Science Feature, Arts Professional, Issue 243, October 2011

Material World, BBC Radio 4, July 2010

Open Frequency, Axis, axisweb.org, 2009

A Collection of Drawings, Metro, 2008

War and Peace 07 an magazine, August 2007

 

Web Links:

www.imaginedfuturesunknownlands.org  

www.axisweb.org/artist/fernthomas

www.imaginedfuturesunknownlands.org

www.weareworriedaboutthebees.wordpress.com

www.foreveracademy.org

www.artsbirthdaywales.tumblr.com

Qualifications:

MA Social Sculpture             Oxford Brookes University                      2010 –  2013

MA Fine Art                          Swansea Metropolitan University            2007 – 2009

BA (Hons) Fine Art               Oxford Brookes University                       2002 – 2005

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