Just finished the 'Shanghai' panel for my ongoing work about port cities. Shanghai is a beguiling city with a long and complex history and mindboggling urban planning, I have woven many stories and reinterpreted locations in this canvas. NB The birds featured in all the panels have been the source of a lot of research months of intensive 'cutting out'! I consult the website www.avibase.bsc-eoc.org when checking on which species can be found in each city. Once they've been added to the painting I instantly forget their names!!!!
It's now almost 2 years since I began the project and I'm giving myself until mid November to finish the final .and smaller panels for above and below 'Venice'. This will be one of the artworks featured in 'Arrivals/Departures' my solo show at the Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool in Autumn 2022. Here's the artwork gradually taking shape below:
Not quite finished yet but almost.....I started planning 'Lifeboat' about 2 years ago, gathering the materials, thinking about how to express all the feelings and narratives which underpin it. It's largely made from materials that were thrown away, left out for recycling, not valued - but they were, by me....
A broken globe which I could carve, a broken oud left outside a house in South London discovered during lockdown walks, wooden spatulas from Poundland. I combined these elements with 'books' which I made from painted papers and foam core, a 3D print of a scan of myself - thanks to VR artist Sean Rodrigo and many sheets of gold foil a gift from Eliza Cooey.
Assembling the elements of this work has taken many months - often using techniques that were unfamiliar and not easy.
It's not quite finished yet and the next headache is how to photograph it, because none of the surfaces I have in the studio is the right fit! These photos show a cobbled together solution. Once I find a way of creating the right surface I will re photograph and film it.
That's all the tech side of things - what about the meaning you may ask?
Well, the books represent the things that have happened to me, the stories that have shaped my life, the library which contains them is my own life, it is lined with gold because the world of books, the stories of all of us, is such a precious one. The oud is an Arabic instrument which I love - the name itself means wood, the miniature golden forest represents the forest of transformation provided by books, art and music. Just like some of my previous works 'Lifeboat' is about the inescapable link between trees, wood, paper and written stories - how important it is to 'plant more trees!'
This is 'Cork' the 4th panel in my artwork about Port Cities - I'm still thinking about the eventual title and of course, the next panel will be 'Shanghai' a city which I haven't stayed in since 2016 and one that I miss. I think that 'Cork' will have been the most difficult of the panels, the personal history is deeper and I've never been one to view the past through rose-tinted spectacles. However I hope that I've expressed something of the city where I was born and grew up, something not clichéd or trite.
Boundless - Worlds in Flux is a collaborative multi media immersive art project has been awarded a grant from Arts Council England to produce the prototype.
I am lead artist for A-Maze Artists Group which has been working on the concept and planning since April 2020. The project website is www.worldsinflux.com
The draft interactive prototype will be launched shortly.
Experience a visual and sound Roller Coaster created in Virtual Reality by me with a wonderful clapping soundtrack by composer Gráinne Mulvey!
This is a short film clip I made while travelling around my VR artwork called Odyssey: Ride. Currently part of the Boundless: Worlds in Flux project, it is one of the artists' worlds which will be available in an interactive prototype shortly.
If you enjoy the experience please do like,subscribe and share! Roller Coaster 2021 https://youtu.be/uzljx-yItPs
'My dreams are all my own' Fion Gunn 2021, acrylic, canvass, collage, gold leaf, 100 x 80cm
This artwork is my personal commemoration of the life and work of Mary Wollstonecraft. A film about the making of the piece will be posted on YouTube tomorrow.
« Mary Wollstonecraft was a renowned writer and poet, however her role as an activist should not be overlooked. Although she would not have called herself an activist, her passion and involvement in educating women, particularly young women, was transformative. She understood of course, the importance of education in and of itself, but she also saw it as vital for women’s emancipation and intrinsic to women’s ability to have agency of themselves. This in the 1700s was not part of mainstream thinking. Wollstonecraft paved the way for centuries of other inspirational women to make their mark. « Phaedra Gunn, 2021
I managed to finish this work today after a journey that spans more than 25 years. I began painting the bull back in the early 1990s when I began my Greek Cycle but put it aside for a long time because I felt it was a long way from being finished. Back in October 2020 I took it out again to review it - in the light of the upcoming Year of the Ox and things began to fall into place. In making it, I have tried to embody my wishes for a year of energy and flexibility and that the predatory wings of 2020 should fly past us.
'Sheltering World’ project has won an award from Arts Council England!
'Sheltering World' an arts collaboration between Terri Broughton, Eliza Cooey, Tyson Richards and myself to make a digital artwork highlighting the issue of homelessness will be launched online on 18 December so watch this space! Here’s the trailer https://youtu.be/A5SeV3dfCxI
Dublin Bay Triptych and The Dream of Zheng He have been collected by MAHA Beijing through Peking Arts Associates
Fion Gunn - Dublin Bay Triptych, 2018, canvas, acrylic, collage,180x100cm
Fion Gunn - The Dream of Zhang He, 2017, paper, acrylic,collage,190x57cm
2020 - the year of everything being on hold! All exhibition plans for Paris and China are postponed. However, in terms of making new work it's an opportunity to be embraced. Here is 'Venice' the first panel of a planned five which will make up an artwork entitled 'Port'. When I was working on this in December - February the tragic fate of Venice in the Corona Virus narrative was beginning to unfold. Like all of those who love the city, I feel desperate to hear of its recovery and to visit it again in 2021.
“The highest function of ecology is understanding consequences” Dune - Frank Herbert
Participating artists: Mei-Tsen Chen (Taïwan/France) Inés Diarte (France/Espagne), Fion Gunn (Irlande/UK), Natacha Ivaldi (France/Venezuela), Jérémy Louvencourt (France), Nacoca Ko (US/Suisse), Niki Neuts (France), Virginie Rochetti (France), Martial Verdier (France)
Founding member Chen Mei-Tsen describes WAFERS thus “We are a group of international artists who live and work in a fragile world. We are practitioners who work across a wide range of media and platforms to express a convergent diversity – a shared consciousness.”
This is the first exhibition for the group who are passionate about raising environmental awareness and opening an inclusive discourse around important current, global issues. As artists they are committed to responding must imaginatively to environmental crises in order to mediate how these problems are perceived by the wider public. They don’t want to shout down the sceptics of climate change and critics of human migration, better to reach out and and bring them on board.
Irish artist Fion Gunn whose work is inspired by the movement of peoples, joined the group at its inception, is concerned that “in our media rich world, the dramas of refugees and immigrants are played out before an audience. On the one hand this means that we are more informed about what is happening globally, on the other hand, if we are not careful, these often, tragic tales are turned into a voyeuristic entertainment.”
3 Previews: Tuesday 17, 24, 31 March 2020 at 6-10 pm Opening Times: from 16 March to 5 April at 3-7 pm
Address: Villa des Arts – 15, rue Hégésippe Moreau 75018 Paris Further information from: firstname.lastname@example.org High res images available on request