Alison McFadden

Student Researcher, UCA Farnham

Research Student, School of Fine Art | Photography and Visual Communication

Research Project:
Physical Training & Art Practice: how the effort from one relates, extends and impacts, on the other; using the evolving body to explore transmitted energy at the Stilling Point and investigating the boundary of the body and its encounters with material surfaces.

Research Project Summary
The research project has an overarching aim of exploring how physical training transmits into art practice. The artist, Alison McFadden, is undergoing physical training in ballet, boxing, karate, gym rings, running and weight training. The way the body transforms, its muscularity and form are to be studied with a reflection on the feminine and masculine and within the context of art history.
Research will be conducted into different theories of the body, in particular, contemporary social theories of the body which debate where the boundary of the body lies, whether the body is contained or porous and how bodies affect each other. The ideas of Teresa Brennan being of particular interest. And how these ideas sit in relation to Foucault's and Merleau Ponty’s philosophical considerations of the body. Expressing these theoretical debates in art practice are key.

Alison defines the Stilling Point as the point where the body in movement meets material surfaces. Art exploration of what form this takes and reflection on the exchange of energy, fusion and alteration which may occur at the Stilling points will form the basis of her art practice research.

Her evolving body, used in a performative process of making will influence the forms. The body, physical training, movement, sound and the senses, especially touch, are key areas of interest for this research. Porous skin, the ‘aliveness’ of matter and the transformation of affect being ideas to explore.

Personal Profile
Alison McFadden is an artist who works from her own studio and exhibits her work in solo and group exhibitions.

She often works with a performative process to make sculptures and paintings. She also makes expanded sculpture installations which also incorporate film and objects used in the performative process. And she paints and draws.

Her themes involve the body, its form, its movements and how it connects and is affected by other bodies and material surfaces. And the relationship of the body to and its articulation of, space and landscape.

Alison recently was awarded the prestigious Ingot Prize and her idea was made into a bronze sculpture Power & Grace (Gym Rings), an edition of four, which was then exhibited at the Bowman Sculpture Gallery, London.

She has an MA Fine Art awarded by UCA in 2015. She also studied photography at the University of Westminster and gained a First Class BA (Hons) Photography and also a Diploma in Photojournalism, which she studied at The London College of Communication (formerly the London College of Printing). 

After this she worked as a photographer for several years based in London, setting up a collective with two other photographers and building a photographic library which was used by many clients ranging from Age Concern to Longmans Publishers and The Terence Higgins Trust.

Alison developed her shift to fine art over several years of practice whilst taking time out to be a parent. During this time she also studied for a postgraduate certificate in Fine Art at The University of Chichester, where she particularly developed her love of painting.

Dr Mike Marshall
Professor Nicky Hamlyn
Jessica Voorsanger

Further information
Alison's website