Brighten Up Your Week! Totnes artist Fiona Green has a new free-to-view exhibition on that’s accurately called ‘A Passion for Colour’. Adelaide Daws visited her to get the lowdown for the Pulse.
Visit the exhibition in one of 2 central Totnes locations from the 14th to 26th October for a welcome blast of colours that these digital images simply cannot do proper justice to.
Fiona Green is holding 2 exhibitions in Totnes this October called ‘A Passion for Colour’ to fundraise for local charities ‘LandWorks’ and ‘Food in Community’. She spoke to me about a few of the many works included in the exhibition.
“The exhibitions are inspired by two local charities that I’m really keen on. The first exhibition will be held at the English in Totnes school running from the 14th- 20th October and will be raising money for LandWorks on the Dartington Hall estate, who work to re-skill and rehabilitate prisoners. The exhibition will then move, with more paintings to the Angel Gallery, for another charity called Food in Community, a fantastic local group who collect food from local farms for people in need. I chose to support these two charities partly because I know people who run them and partly because I just believe in them.”
I‘ve only really been panting for the last 5 or 6 years, I taught Art for years, and along with raising two children on my own, I never had the time to paint. So it was a real privilege having the time to do that in lockdown. I’m not a religious person but it felt deeply spiritual at the time with the streets completely silent.”
“My paintings are figurative and very colourful, which is why I’ve called the exhibition ‘A Passion For Colour’. As a little girl growing up in India, there was colour and design everywhere, people were always outdoors painting murals or making mosaics on the ground, so I was really inspired by all of that. My mother was so encouraging when I was growing up; to her my drawings weren’t just childish doodles, she made me feel they were something special, something to really endeavour in. My father was the same, he bought me my first paint box, which was the beginning of it all. When I was 11, we moved to Australia and lived in the outback, which had this deep red soil and such dramatic landscape. At 16 I went to Paris working as an au pair. I saw the best paintings I’d ever seen in my life, including the works of Matisse and Picasso. Matisse, I suppose, is my greatest influence – I just love the simplicity of his images.”
Homeless Mary’ is perhaps one of my most original. I’m always interested not just in someone who can represent a figure but in a way showing who they are as the artist. I think this is more interesting because homeless Mary didn’t look exactly like that – I broke her face up in a way Matisse and Picasso would.
‘Cry My Beloved Country’
“When Australia was on fire, I was just in such grief and shock. I just decided I have to paint.
The message in this piece is about taking care of the planet, and of what’s going on around us. It’s so important…my poor grandson, the next generations, what a legacy we’re leaving them!”
‘Totnes Red Rebels’
“This painting is of Extinction Rebellion in
Totnes. I followed their protest around town taking lots of photos which I made into a huge collage. The repetition in that piece is very powerful.”
‘Totnes XR Red Rebels Collage’
“I think the artist has a responsibility in society to tell people about current issues, whether it’s homelessness, refugees, or the climate crisis. It’s a way of raising consciousness so that people will actually do something about the issue, so we don’t just ‘blah blah blah’ as Greta Thunberg says. instead we take action. I suppose that’s what I want people to take away from my exhibition and hopefully these two shows will raise some money for the marvellous charities.”
To see the wonderful ‘A Passion for Colour’, and to purchase a card or print, or indeed one of the original works, or to ask Fiona for a bargain live sketch done in beetroot juice on the spot not unlike one she did below, to raise money for either of her chosen charities – ‘Landworks’ and ‘Food In Community’ – please come along either to: English In Totnes, 10.00am – 4.00pm Oct 14-20, on the High St, door on the left just past the Clock as you go up. Or from the 21st to 26th October inclusive, come to Angel Gallery on South St, also from 10-4. Give your eyes a treat and if you’re lucky you’ll meet the lovely Fiona.