Rooted in the processes and principles of Social Sculpture, Fern Thomas explores the potency and social relevance of the image in its broadest sense, working with participatory forms, object and text.
Her practice plays with myth-making, folk magic and folk healing, and the need for new rituals. She explores archetypal images, pedagogical spaces and inner landscapes, creating works rooted in a connection to nature, its rhythms and place. The transformative capacities of the image act as an ongoing fascination and resource for works and collaborations which can be experienced through action, discussion, ‘activated spaces’, live and documented processes and the written and spoken word.
More recently she has returned to the principles of Social Sculpture, seeking out connections with citizenship, civic spaces, play and ‘making kin’, imagining them as tools for how we collectively respond to and live in climate breakdown.
Fern is the winner of Mostyn Open (2011), was a recipient of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Award (2011/2012), was awarded the Interdisciplinary Arts Prize (2013) at Oxford Brookes University for her work during her Masters in Social Sculpture, and received a Creative Wales Award in 2014 to support her ongoing research into participatory forms and their relationship with sustainability. Thomas received her MA in Social Sculpture from Oxford Brookes University, working with Shelley Sacks, where she developed the post-apocalyptic research unit Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands.
She co-initiated the collaborative and pedagogical groups Art’s Birthday Wales and Forever Academy, works closely with her key collaborator Owen Griffiths.