Stephen Felmingham is an artist and educator engaged in doctoral research for a practice-led PhD at the University of Leeds. His areas of research interest are landscape, drawing, place and the contemporary sublime. He studied MA Drawing at Wimbledon School of Art where he won the Postgraduate Drawing Prize and was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009.
‘My early experiences as a child growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s in East Anglia were of a world containing enigmatic underground installations, military fencing, American cars and the four-minute warning. The Cold War began in 1945 and ended in theory in 1992 – for over 47 years it exerted its distant but tangible threat on a civilian population -and in its manifestations retreated underground into networks of bunkers and into distant spheres of the sky – a powerful concealed meaning in the landscape. Thus my own visions of landscapes were freighted with the sense of them being ‘non-benign’: somehow paused before the inevitable rush of terrible white light and wind. My drawings are informed by this, but now transform this trauma into a sense of an encompassing wholeness of vision, a circumambience of landscape holding, in its perceptual sphere, the cosmologies of memory and place. This is activated through the use of a vocabulary of motifs: plane; bunker; tower; clearing; sky; sphere and with materials that carry a weight of meaning such as ash, lead, beeswax, chalk and stone’
The practice of drawing achieves a particular resonance in terms of this enquiry. It is for Felmingham the manifestation of a continually mutable process: the movements, rhythms and operations of the mind. Drawing by its nature suggests an intimacy of engagement where the eye of the viewer, tracing and following the hand of the drawer, is caught up endlessly in the space of action and event. It represents the materialisation of an act of consciousness where the gestural act embodies an act of thought: a disjuncture between the familiar and the unfamiliar. The work is positioned at the limen or threshold, teetering on the edge of a phase-change to the sublime. Recent shows have included Stockholm Art Fair Supermarket in 2010 with SevenSeven Contemporary Art at the Kulturhuset in Stockholm; shortlisted Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009, Jerwood Space, London, followed by national tour and The Space Between, Surrounds Our Desire, Event09 Birmingham, curated by Mona Casey.
- Practice-led PhD, University of Leeds.
- M.A. Drawing in Fine Art Practice, Wimbledon School of Art.
- B.A.(Hons) Fine Art at Middlesex Polytechnic.
- Foundation in Art and Design, Norwich School of Art.
- Stockholm Art Fair Supermarket with SevenSeven Contemporary Art, Kulturhuset, Stockholm.
- Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009, Jerwood Space, London, followed by national tour
- The Space Between, Surrounds Our Desire, Event09 Birmingham, curated by Mona Casey
- The Ninth Plinth, Leeds Art Fair, Leeds, group show.
- Zoo Art Fair with SevenSeven Contemporary Art, Regents Park, London
- Red October, SevenSeven Contemporary Art, London E2
- Bee Vessel Wax Wave, Galerie Lucy Macintosh, Lausanne, Switzerland, solo show.
- Mirror II Nature, Seven Seven Contemporary Art/ Mile-End Arts Pavilion, London
- Elevate at Corsica Studios, Islington, group show
- Wheel of Life at the Spitz Gallery, Spitalfields, invited artists.
- Drawn from WSA at the River Gallery, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, invited artists.
- Listen/Here at the Hope St. Gallery, Liverpool with Lindsay Hiscox and Aine Scannell.
- M.A. Degree Show at Wimbledon School of Art.
- Freezeframe at the Millinery Works, Islington, group show.
- Reveal/Conceal – Beldam gallery, Brunel University/ John Moore’s University, Liverpool.
- Draw at the WSA Gallery, group show.
- Winner of the Wimbledon School of Art Post-Graduate Drawing Prize.
- Winner of the Gallery Drawing Prize at the Millinery Works, Islington – judges Peter Blake, Nicholas Usherwood and Frank Stanton.
Employment and Commissions
- 2009 –
- Visiting lecturer, Norwich University College of the Arts
- 2006 –
- Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Fine Art course, Leeds College of Art
- Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Fine Art part-time course at Leeds College of Art.
- Associate Lecturer on the HND Fine Art course at Calderdale College, Halifax
- Lecturer in drawing on the BA (Hons) Drawing and New Media course at Swindon College.
- Founding director of new media arts facility Studio 55, London’s first artist-run digital media studio space.
- Large scale drawing and fresco commission, Knightsbridge, London for Addison Nelson Design.
Papers and Publications
- Invited speaker Land2 ‘Spectral Traces‘ symposium Making a Place for the Sublime with Ian Sinclair, University of Leeds
- Currently engaged in research for practice-led PhD at University of Leeds – Drawing, place and the contemporary sublime.
- Paper delivered to Land2 conference Traversing inner landscapes: the photograph as transformational object, University of Northampton.
- Paper delivered to Art and Design Pedagogy Conference, Entrepreneurship in Fine Art, Leeds College of Art.
- Paper delivered to ELIA Teachers’ Academy, Building New Paradigms: The Art School as a site for creativity research, University of Brighton.
- Paper delivered to AHRC Spatiality Conference, Is Space Discrete or Continuous?. University of Leeds.
- Invited member of the AHRC Spatiality Research Cluster, University of Leeds.
- Catalogue essay for Ward and Wright at the Royal Society of British Sculptors.
- Paper delivered to The Arts Catalyst 2nd UK Space Art Forum, Ideas for Zero Gravity, Toynbee Studios, Whitechapel, London.
- Catalogue essay What lies beyond the romantic? for TransRomantik at the Horse Hospital, Russell Square, London – Cathryn Ward and Eric Wright.
- Catalogue essay for Telling Tales at the Clerk’s House, Shoreditch, London.