Façade Festival Insider Series: Fiona Ackerman
Beautifully chosen colour and proportion achieve a delicate balance in the works of Fiona Ackerman. Many of her works are completely abstract, but she has also brought representation into her works with series centred around artists’ studios and garden environments. Beyond the mesmerizing aesthetics of her paintings often lays a philosophical inspiration – her 2012 mirror series referenced Foucault, while her 2014 piece Dreams of Zhang Zhou alludes to the famous story of the 4th-century Chinese thinker dreaming that he is a butterfly. Her playful, yet masterfully rendered works exude a deep respect for the discipline of painting.
Can you tell us a bit about your artistic practice and background?FA
I’m a painter. I moved to Vancouver in 2000 from Montreal. I work in series, so my paintings vary from being completely abstract, to abstract-representational. One series explored artists’ studios as subject; another series of paintings are completely artificial reinventions of a garden.
Describe your project for Façade Fest 2017.FA
For the Facade project, I’m mining my own documented archive of paintings to create animations where new abstract compositions are built up, and transformed. Though the animation is unsophisticated, the objective was to create a series of abstract worlds that the viewer moves in and out of.
I’ve also paired up with Sophie Trudeau, a Montreal based violinist and composer. She’s arranging a music piece to accompany the projection, tying the changing imagery together.
Have you ever worked in video art or projection mapping before? To what extent was working with this technology a new experience for you?FA
No, this is entirely new to me, and honestly a huge learning curve. I didn’t even know what computer programs existed for such a project. The projection is in a way a documentation of my experimentation, exploring and discovering this new process. Though it applies simple techniques, I hope the result is playful and takes the viewer in a number of different directions. I won’t really know what the full result will be until I see the projection live with everyone else in September.
Is your Façade idea an entirely new project or are you further developing existing themes?FA
The project draws from an archive of documented paintings I’ve painted over the years. The 10 minute projection itself is completely new, and the artwork used is cut and collaged to create something new.
Your work will be projected over the entire façade of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Have you ever worked in such a large scale before? What has been exciting, and challenging, about the process?FA
Because the projection is prepared on a computer screen, size has been less of a challenge than proportion. The facade of the gallery is very wide and narrow, which isn’t a proportion I work with very often. It’s been interesting solving how to deal with such a wide landscape layout. It will be a completely new experience to have it projected full sized on the facade of the VAG.
See Fiona Ackerman’s projection mapped artwork in Façade Festival 2017 – it will be shown from 7:30PM to Midnight on Thursday, September 7th, as well as in the encore presentations on September 9th and 10th.