Art Forms: Visual Art, Participatory Arts. Spectacle, Traditional Arts
Areas of Interest:Participatory as in workshops in schools and community
Spectacle as in floats for parades
Traditional arts as in wood carving, stone carving and pottery
I recently revived an interest in modelling portraits from life.
I enjoy working with clay and how its processes enables engagement with participating groups
I also enjoy the collograph printmaking process for the same reason
Currently on a regular basis teaching adults hand building techniques in pottery
I like working in schools – primary and secondary
Modern and contemporary art
Although born in Cavan Jim Fee grew up in an Irish community in Birmingham UK. He has pursued his practise as a Visual Artist for over 30 years. After training at North Staffordshire Polytechnic (Stoke-on-Trent) in1983, he set up in Birmingham and got together a group of invited graduates from various Fine Art Degree shows in the Midlands (UK) and exhibited collectively under the name Seven Midland Artists in touring shows around the Midlands. They disbanded after a few years as each pursued their own interests. Jim continued to show sculpture in various themed exhibitions all over the UK.
He always had an interest in horses and for a year worked in a stables in Birmingham to better understand their anatomy. By the late 80s he was showing life size sculptures of horses. However difficulties in managing the storage and costs of transport brought this activity to an end.
Undertaking a Masters in Fine Art at Northumbria University (Newcastle 1990 -92) honed his ideas around personal narratives and identity. The work became less ambitious in size and display of technical skill and more was given over to the concepts.
Shortly before he moved to Ireland in 2001 he set up with another group of Birmingham based artists after successfully gaining lottery funding (£5000). They went under the name Gallda and put together a touring show titled “Insider-out” with a theme based on second-generation Irish identity in Britain. At a host venue in Liverpool University they were invited to meet the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese at a Reception.
Jim was a founding member of C.VAN (Cavan Visual Artists Network) in 2002 (now defunct), and Cathal Buí in 2004 – an arts and heritage festival based in Blacklion – formerly known as The Cathal Bui Summer School. Teaching and delivering workshops played an increasing role in his creative output especially since he took up residence in Ireland, undertaking many placements and projects with schools and community groups in Cavan and the neighbouring counties.
He was also involved in numerous cross-border/cross-community initiatives, and in August 2015 was placed in West Belfast for two weeks under the Da Vinci Programme with the intention of “Developing Creativity Across Borders”. He feels that his experience there has given him an insight into the subculture of a divided community, and a licence to address issues around it. He is currently working on ideas inspired by that visit.
Although much of his practise is about engaging groups and developing ideas and concepts, he has maintained an interest in the discipline of drawing and painting from observation, and over the years has made many sales that way. Recently he rediscovered the joys of modelling portraits in clay from life. He acknowledges it as another creative discipline that he intends to further explore as sideline.
His studio is in the old family homestead located in the remote foothills of Cuilcagh Mountain in the West Cavan borderland. He lives in sight of the archaeologically rich Cavan Burren Park with his partner and fellow artist Maria Bagnoli and daughter Sionainn.
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