Fionn Wilson

Statement and bio

Fionn Wilson (2018)

Artist Statement

My practice is focused primarily on transforming paint into something that can carry an emotional resonance. Most of my work is portraiture, but I also paint landscapes and still life. My subject matter includes the exploration of the polarities which are intrinsic in the qualities which make us human and, particularly, where these points intersect and become complimentary. Such polarities create a tension and an energy, and the chance of resolution. This is what interests me as a painter. When painting landscapes, I look for vibrance and a 'life force' beyond the surface ― and how the interaction of elements can combine in a way which becomes holistic. My landscapes could be said to be nostalgic. I yearn for a sense of place.

Transcendence is important to my practice. I like to explore ideas of beauty, which I see as a kind of 'purity', along with sexuality and glamour. What interests me about such themes is how they are used to overstep the mundane environment and the contingency of life. I especially like to paint women and I view the female body as somehow supernatural. The women I paint are often sphinx-like or masked — their beauty a riddle. I'm interested in how people organise different frameworks of belief, be this political, spiritual, or philosophical. I find people of conviction compelling to paint (whilst not necessarily being in agreement with their ideas); radical minds go beyond the mere individual, just as beauty does. I'm very attracted to this, as well as to the idea of a 'pure motive'.


Fionn Wilson (b. South Shields, 1972) is a London-based figurative painter.

She has recently exhibited at the annual open exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Scottish Academy open exhibition and the Enniskillen Visual Arts Open. Three of her paintings were selected for the National Open Art finalists’ exhibition (2016). Her portraits of former RMT general secretary Bob Crow and Labour MP Dennis Skinner form part of the Marx Memorial Library’s public collection at Clerkenwell Green. Her paintings Marilyn (angel of light) (2015) and Christine Keeler with Her Cat (2017) form part of the Priseman Seabrook collection of 21st Century British Painting (the only art collection in the UK dedicated to painting produced in Britain since the year 2000). Christine (2) (2017) is part of the collection of the Yantai Art Museum, China and her two portraits of Danish composer Gunnar Berg form part of the collection of the Museum of National History of Denmark at Frederiksborg Castle. Her work was included last year in a four-museum tour of China as part of the exhibition Contemporary Masters from Britain (80 works from the Priseman Seabrook collection). Her paintings were selected for the ING Discerning Eye (2017) and Contemporary British Painting's winter group show (2017). She has exhibited widely throughout the UK and was a judge’s favourite in the International Women’s Erotic Art competition, 2013.

From 2012–2013 she set up and ran the not-for-profit SPACE art gallery in Southgate, London, in a disused bank where she curated and hung seven exhibitions of work from local and international artists. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and holds directory membership at Axisweb. She is currently painting for, and organising, a group exhibition which will be a tribute to sixties icon Christine Keeler. She is also working on a series of portraits of political activist, historian and writer Tariq Ali.



To enquire about purchases, exhibitions or commissions, please contact me by e-mail

At the Royal Society of British Artists open exhibition (2016) with 'Mishka'