Cecilia Fiona is a self-trained Danish artist with no formal art training. Graduating from an Art History degree, Fiona started a painting practice, gaining international attention for her unique style and imagery.
Originally working with acrylic paint, Fiona has since adapted and created a unique technique for her painting using rabbit skin glue, which is usually used as a canvas primer. Instead, the artist mixes in handmade and natural pigments into the rabbit skin glue to use as a paint, providing her work with semi-translucent, dusty finish, accentuating its ethereal qualities. The process is temperamental and leaves traces of previous attempts, “like forgotten tales which emerge as ghosts from the past.”
Each work is painted with a small, thin brush – even the large strokes and paintings. This meticulousness means that her work is full of details and complex compositions, blending figures and landscapes into one another creating a state of flow and tumult on the canvas dissolving the boundaries between the bodies and the world. Her paintings are fantastical creations of dreamlike landscapes that offer a glimpse into another world behind reality, inhabited by creatures that are part way between human, animal and nature, exploring the fraught relationship between them and suggesting new imaginative ecosystems where nature has agency.
Using the mythical, or the idea of the myth, to explore the existential mysteries of life, Fiona creates dreamlike worlds full of chaos and magic, in which life and death occur simultaneously, and the viewer may recognise the story and the figures, but simultaneously find themselves in the middle of a mystery. Blending the real and fictitious, her paintings revolve around how the stories we tell, shape the way we perceive and experience the world, following critical theorist Donna Haraway’s call for the need to create and visualise new stories about man and nature in order to forge a more sustainable relationship between the two.
Alongside her wall-based paintings, Fiona produces free-standing, folding screens painted on both sides. Expanding her work into the 3-Dimensional means that the viewer experiences it with their body as well as their vision, providing a radically different experience that becomes spatial and sculptural. This has led to the artist producing costumes made out of painted jute canvas for performances which have previously been performed in relation to the screens as a way of transforming the physical body into the mythical to find a more nomadic subjectivity.
– William Noel Clarke, Director, Vitrine Gallery