Above all, Fiona Maltby's work ultimately explores identity by means of a contrast of playfulness and representation. Her aim is to represent her subjects, all of whom are individuals she knows and admires, using a personal painterly argot, she displays who they really are - this decision begins with the subject’s hair. Hair embodies a person’s intimate individuality on a personal yet extremely public level, and can be a very playful component to a person. Concepts of androgyny, race and stereotyping are all underlying themes to her subjects regardless of how emphatic or covert.
On her art, Fiona Maltby says..
"I aim for my paintings to not be taken too seriously, however; they are pieces intended to be enjoyed, and that are fun. Therefore, as much as the paintings exemplify the subject they also fundamentally epitomise myself and my excitement with expression of the self. While painting, my subconscious state of mind freely allows for impulsive and automatic, doodle-like drawings projecting my subliminal experience into each piece through symbols, codes, motifs and text. My drawing features my interest in mark making, it is important to me that through the use of marks and colour I suspend ideas of how a person should typically look and reinvent this through rendered illusion.
I predominantly use oil pastels and oil paint on linen to achieve a wide variety of marks. Through the medium of oil paint, I experiment with the texture by layering thick painterly marks on to linen, as well as thin glazes and much smaller doodles, as these create a much more visually exciting piece. My work with pastels is instinctive and free; it breaks up my thick, ridged paint strokes. It is also liberating and has therefore become a fundamental necessity within my practice. I use linen as a ground for negative space, the colour becomes a more mute but complimentary mid-tone for my busy marks and the rich quality of oil paint.
The introduction of screen print in my work has also been a groundbreaking one; it allows for another convention of drawing as I can easily create an image digitally and transfer this on to my painting. The flatness and sticker-like quality of screen print compliments the aim of the prints and paintings on a whole, to be fun and exuberant."