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When the moon fell out of orbitFern Thomas

02 June - 15 July 2012

When the moon fell out of orbit
From the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands  |

Manifesting in action, live or documented, Fern Thomas’ process-led and intuitive explorations often take the form of a physical interaction or ‘meeting’ between herself and a place, a dream, a history or another being. Drawn to notions of alchemy, her work explores ideas of transformation through object, text and sound.

Working with the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands Thomas carries out a series of explorations into the images found in our dreams and inner landscapes. Through this engagement she wonders what these images tell of our future and questions what do we do now that the moon has fallen out of or orbit?

Based in Swansea, Thomas has exhibited nationally and internationally including Germany, New Zealand, and Mexico and recently at Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London. She is currently part of Let’s See What Happens… a project which includes artists from Swansea, Wales and Xiamen, China curated by Karen MacKinnon for Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.  She is a winner of Mostyn Open 2011, Welsh Artist of the Year (Photography) 2009 and is a recent recipient of an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award. In 2010 Thomas was shortlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Amateur Scientist of the Year for the project For the Bees with collaborator Owen Griffiths. She is a member of collaborative groups Supersaurus, FAO, and Arts Birthday Wales and has recently worked with Griffiths to develop Forever Academy, a DIY Art School in partnership with Axis.  Thomas is currently studying for her MA in Social Sculpture at Oxford Brookes University.


'Fern Thomas is acutely aware of the delicate yet critical relationship between humans and their environment. In an attempt to connect directly with the 'natural world' she volunteers representations of the 'animal world' to act as mediators for this purpose [...]'

Tim Davies, Curator of Ground, 2009


'Fern Thomas’s Creation Stories, a series of unflinching physical gestures made direct to camera, echoed early performance work such as that of Bruce Nauman or Robert Morris, and yet powerfully portrayed the inseparable union between violence and creativity in basic actions of body. The slowed down footage of clapping hands, dropping a rock or throwing mud at the wall, all pretty innocuous acts in themselves, provoked horror and rapt fascination as slowing down the footage made each act sound like an explosion. The final metaphorical gesture of blowing flour from cupped hands at the camera was particularly successful, as the thundering sound was accompanied by a visual explosion ominously reminiscent of the white-out of a nuclear blast.'

Colin Glen First published: a-n Magazine August 2007


'In slowing down a series of performative gestures which can be seen as metaphors for violent acts, as though ‘sculpting’ with time, Thomas explores the relationship between violence and creation, producing a slow motion video; a kind of temporal magnifying glass, in which we are aware of the artist becoming object within her own work.'

Zoë Shearman, May 2007


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