Fleur Yeasley is an artist and recent graduate from the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. Fleur took up a studio at RAW through the Almacantar Studio Award. Now that the Award has finished, Fleur has decided to stay on as a permanent studio holder at RAW. We caught up with her to find out about her work and upcoming plans.
You graduated in 2017 from an MFA in Painting at UCL. Can you tell us a little bit about some of work and exhibitions since then?
Straight after finishing my MFA I undertook the Slade Summer Residency which worked as a great transition between the whirlwind of the degree show and ‘real life’. I received the news I had been awarded the Almacantar prize whilst I was travelling around Cuba which was an amazing surprise and has been such a big help and support this past year. Since then I have been exhibiting in shows, including my work being selected for FBA Futures at Mall Galleries and this summer exhibiting in a group show ‘Desires’ at GNYP Gallery in Berlin. I also received the Jealous Prize 2018 which included a residency at their printing studio to create limited edition screen-prints of my work with the help of their team.
What has been inspiring your work recently?
I moved to London from Manchester 3 years ago to study my masters. Something I will never get over is the amount of museums and galleries there are here. There always seems to be a new show opening or something undiscovered to go see. When someone talks about a great show they saw a few years ago in London I feel very envious that I missed it. I find this city a really exciting and invigorating place to be making. There is a constant stream of stimulus, and as an artist you really cannot see enough. From new fresh works in contemporary galleries to the collection of Western European paintings hanging in the National Gallery, it's all pertinent and vital to my own learning and development, essentially informing my work. I was most recently blown away by Lisa Brice’s figurative paintings at Tate Britain that imbue a real sense of intimacy and sensitivity I want to evoke in my own paintings.
You have decided to stay on after the Studio Award at RAW. What is it like working as an artist at RAW? Why did you decide to stay on in your studio at RAW after the Award?
The studio spaces at RAW have the benefit of being partitioned in a communal space that offers an environment which encourages discourse and openness. But on the flipside the studios also function as a place where you can be in your own headspace, providing privacy and undistracted focus. The spaces are a good size with lots of natural light which is essential as a painter. Now the building is more established and better weather there seems to be a buzz of activity about the place. To have a studio in London that’s situated on a dock and overlooks a stretch of water is an unusual space to escape and make – I even saw someone on a handmade raft the other day!
Can you tell us about some of your upcoming plans for you work?
Recently I have been working on a much smaller scale in comparison to my larger works. I think it's always good to be pushing work in different directions. Changing scale has allowed me to explore if I could attain the same vigour, exuberance and openness that is so integral to the paintings.
My subject matter is diverse – In my studio at the moment you can find paintings such as a washing clothes line, underwater snorkelling and an elephant reaching for a banana. I ’m about to investigate imagination and escapism in my next work by painting from the memory of a cardboard rocket my dad made for me when I was 5.
Personal memories are the source of inspiration for my paintings and I use the materiality of paint to intertwine humanity around each subject matter by working through personal and collective histories and relationships. In the hope to find shared experience and communion.
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