Inspired by Foucault's concept of Heterotopia, these bold new paintings present the garden as a wholly imaginary and artificial construct, a re-writing of the wild through a process of exclusion and curation. She explains: “A garden is an outside place where the true wild is reflected but subversively controlled. Like the garden, the painting mirrors the natural world but also disrupts it. A successful painting acts as a functioning organism. When a painting succeeds, a healthy eco-system prospers."
In an accompanying exhibition essay, UK academic Peter Johnson writes: "Fiona Ackerman makes a mirror box, an enclosure, a theatre, a disruption of images, as both an invention and exploration of gardens. Rather than the tradition of depicting gardens, bounded spaces, the canvasses embody the process of gardening, cultivating an impossible space: a medley of sculptured cut-outs, with branches, grasses, leaves entangled and entangling. The density of foliage is ceaselessly reflected and refracted in texture, colour, size and dimension to produce something that is both a display and a performance. Am I in a glasshouse or outside? These inventions seem in-between. I am positioned close-up as if I could reach inside or outside, but to get where?"
Fiona Ackerman exhibits across Canada and in Germany. Diverse in style, her work is deeply rooted in the practice of painting.
A previous series exploring artist’ studios awarded her a nomination for the 2015 Sobey Art Prize. The Surrey Art Gallery presents a survey of those works, titled Mimetic Workshop, through Dec 4, 2016. Link: http://www.surrey.ca/culture-recreation/20223.aspx