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NEW WORK SEAN SLEMON 0 8 - 1 8 Ju l y 2 0 1 2


NIROXprojects in conjunction with David Krut Print Workshop (DKW) is proud to present a recent and developing body of work by Sean Slemon.


Installation view | (front) Tree | Polymer gypsum, fibreglass | 207 x 76 x 110 cm | 2012


Installation view | NEW WORK | Sean Slemon | 2012


Installation view | (front) Rock | Polymer gypsum, fiberglass | 59 x 65 x 123 | 2012


Installation view | NEW WORK | Sean Slemon | 2012


Assets | Hardground etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 48 x 36 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


New Work: Sean Slemon Transcript of opening speech – 8 July 2012 at NIROXprojects Sean Slemon’s work interrogates our relationship to the spaces we inhabit and the land we posses with a view to how “space and land create meaning, facilitate change and transformation, and provide opportunities for power” . He does this in a multi-faceted and site-specific manner that embraces the investigations mentioned while exploring how the intangible becomes tangible, and attempts to solidify and examine the ephemeral, shadowed with philosophical questions of being in space and in time. His work is both reactive and assertive – a reaction towards the fevered commodification and capitalisation of our natural world, and the attempts to control and circumscribe access to those resources. He looks at the natural world – trees, particularly – as the starting point for the urban environment as the space in which we define ourselves, our relations to others, and to the world itself, while turning a critical eye on the vainglorious instinct to claim ownership and attempts to extend the principles of the built environment to the natural world. The assertive aspect of his practice is manifest in the sculptures and prints that focus on fading and ephemeral moments that exhibit exquisite poise and beauty. Slemon has created works that attempt the impossible – they attempt to quantify and categorise the constituent elements of a fallen tree; they transform sprawling debates into simple, almost architectural, visual metaphors; they attempt to solidify and objectify the shadow cast by a rock, a tree, or the artist’s own body; they attempt to map and trace the movement of light through a physical space. The invisible guidelines of light and shadow are apprehended through imaginative perception and transformed into works that proclaim their materiality and their crafted manifestations of a moment in time. These sights are moments of fading beauty which are intensely subjective and, by their definition, short-lived, which is what brings poignancy to these artworks. It is Slemon’s strength that works which on their surface seem concerned only with aesthetic delicacy are in fact layered with debates around access and power, mapping and memory, an acknowledgement of our being in the world, and the webs that tie us inextricably to ourselves to others, and to the urban and natural spaces around us that encompass debates ranging from those around the neglected elements of society to the transcendental moments of everyday life. Luke Crossley, July 2012


Related | Hardground etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 32 x 27 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


Holding onto Shadows | Hardground Copperplate etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 48 x 36 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


Tree Shadow Etching | Hardground etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 27 x 32 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


Lines of Independence | Hardground etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 36 x 48 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


A Day in the Sun | Hardground etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 32 x 32 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


Playing and Owning I | Hardground etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 27 x 32 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


Playing and Owning II | Hardground etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 27 x 32 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


Powerlines | Hardground etching | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 27 x 32 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


Shadow of Shelter | Cement on paper | 120 x 90 cm | 2012


Shelter | Cement on paper | 120 x 90 cm | 2012


Shadow of Acacia | Cement on paper | 120 x 90 cm | 2012


(l-r) Firstlight | Secondlight | Thirdlight | Soap Ground and aquatint | Hahnemuhle, Natural White, 300gsm | 48 x 36 cm | Edition of 12 | 2012


Press Release The shadow is an indelible image for us all. It’s also something that we cannot possess, cannot hold and cannot own. Commodity is the driver of our daily existence and resources are constantly being co-opted from the realm of the “un-ownable” to that of “bought and sold” in a process of trade that has underpinned our existence for hundreds of years. However, there still remains an idea that there are some things belonging to all people: land, light, water and nature. These have transformed through our complex and insatiable economic systems from resources available to all to resources with commercial value, owned resources, and this is the focus of his recent work. Sean Slemon’s work, while mostly drawn from nature, is concerned with the ephemeral becoming physical – making the intangible tactile. But to what end? Shadows are turned into solid three dimensional works – their scale derived directly from the original object, such as the tree. Slemon transforms shadows into solid entities by casting from life and tracing from the sun, joining these two processes together to make a single solid shape, defining the parameters of a shadow. In doing this, Slemon makes something intangible and ephemeral completely fill the space it sometimes moves through. This stands for Slemon as a process of commoditization: converting something from a resource – light – to something that now occupies space and represents time and the intangible in solid form. It is through simple and subtle gestures like this that his concerns are brought to the fore through sculpture, drawing, installation and printmaking. The body of work presented here, still in progress, works towards a reminder that when things that belong to everyone are appropriated for personal gain, something that someone else needs to survive may be taken away from him. All work on the exhibition was produced while in residency at the NIROX Foundation. Jillian Ross and her staff at DKW printed the etchings concurrently. This new body of work leaves off from Slemon’s recent solo show: The Sun Stands Still at MagnanMetz Gallery in New York in December of 2011. He is currently working towards his first solo exhibition with Brundyn + Gonsalves in Cape Town in October of 2013, towards which this new work will contribute. Sean Slemon is also participating in Joburg: Don’t / Panic, curated by Gabi Ngcobo, which will open on July 6th 2012 at the Centre for Historical Re Enactment. This is a re-iteration of the exhibition Don’t / Panic that featured Slemon’s work at the Durban Art Gallery during COP 17 in 2011, and will take place at 32 August House, 76 End Street, Johannesburg. Jacqueline Nurse, July 2012


ABOUT THE ARTIST: Slemon was born in Cape Town in 1978. He completed his Bachelor’s in Fine Art at Michaelis, UCT. In 2007 he completed his Master’s in Fine Art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he is currently based. Slemon was joint winner of the Sasol New Signatures Award in 2005 and received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant in 2009. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency in 2007 and received a Chashama Studio residency in the same year. His work was recently included in the Pizzutti collection. He is represented by MagnanMetz Gallery in New York. View the artist talking about his current body of work here: http://youtu.be/MoIC3HvlClc For enquiries, please contact: DAVID KRUT PROJECTS, Arts on Main Ciara Struwig: 011 334 1209 ciara@davidkrut.com NIROXprojects Neil Nieuwoudt: 072 350 4326 neil.nieuwoudt@gmail.com Layout and Design: Neil Nieuwoudt www.davidkrut.com www.niroxarts.com www.seanslemon.com www.magnanmetz.com


Sean Slemon Exhibition Catalogue