Words at the Black Swan – Session 6

Date: Sunday 20th October 2013 16:30 – 18:00
Workshop Leader: Crysse Morrison

Responding to the exhibition ‘Séamus Moran’ curated by Mark Stephens.
October 19 – November 16 2013

Exhibition Information

Séamus Moran
Black Swan Arts, 19 October – 16 November 2013

“Most of my work is about capturing a non-representational presence”

Séamus Moran Lives in Crowan, near Camborne in Cornwall. He grew up in the Midlands before graduating with a degree in Ceramics with glass from Birmingham Polytechnic in 1984. He eventually moved to Cornwall in 1988 where he has exhibited locally.

In conjunction to being a successful fine artist, Seamus is a director of a small business near Helston called Design Clinic which specialises in modelling, mould making and casting for other artists.

Since 2001 Seamus has been creating his sculptures by making silicone moulds from the knots of dead trees, which he combs for and finds within the woods nearby at Crenver Grove. He has extensively collected a range of forms from which he has produced a three dimensional lexicon, these shapes can be reproduced and combined to offer a limitless possibility of creative alternatives. Just as letters are used to form words, he uses the knots to form sculpture. They are cast in resin which is impregnated with iron filings and then assembled to create larger more intricate objects.

The work explores the possibilities of producing complex forms from smaller more simple elements and is in part driven by Seamus’ interest in Darwinism, natural selection and the mechanics of life. This is combined with a fascination of Renaissance church ‘Bling’. There is an overall more complex description to the work that Seamus finds difficult to verbalise but which the work speaks volumes for itself.

Some of the pieces are made by fitting multiple copies of an individual knot against themselves, producing the most unexpected fractal-like compound curves. The form of these pieces is dictated by the way the knots sit against each other. He sometimes uses simple mathematical formulae to direct the addition of further castings to the pieces in a way which mimics nature. The results are often uncannily shell-like and skeletal.

The works are usualy finished with a ‘rust’ patina, which complements their ravaged decayed texture creating the unsettling beauty of something part natural/part man-made. As well as knots Seamus also use nails, feathers, leather, brambles, chains and castings of skulls & crabshells within the sculptures.

Seamus has a very open and original mind when it comes to the use of materials. Having had a background in and working with ceramics and glass, he has also turned his attention to a much more diverse media. The result, and his current work has been short listed for this years Threadneedle prize
(www.threadneedleprize.com/page/3219/The+Artworks), and is called ‘Urban Burka’. A helmet and face mask constructed from reformed training shoes.

This exhibition features his sculptures from 2001 to present.


Séamus Moran talks to Crysse Morrison.

Séamus Moran talks to Crysse Morrison.

Séamus Moran talks to Crysse Morrison at the opening of his show at the Black Swan…

Séamus Moran, currently exhibiting at Black Swan Arts, says most of his work is about capturing a non-representational presence, which is interesting as much of it is cast from wood-knots and some uses natural elements like feathers, and even an apple. It’s the artistic process that shifts his imagery into fantasy ~ a word Séamus agrees resonates for him:

“Fantasy is what’s in your head ~ all the things that go into your life come out eventually.”

So these constructions, each unrepeatable, created by mouldings from hundreds of casts, are distorted into patterns that evoke gothic armour, rituals from medieval religion, myths and fairytales. There’s a feathered piece that looks like a charred Icarus, and ~ my favourite, pictured here ~ a tangled pattern that could be the thorn forest Sleeping Beauty’s prince strode through on his rescue quest… it looks very like the Arthur Rackham illustrations in my 1920 copy, anyway. This one’s called Decade, because

“it took ages ~ it started from a drawing and when I’d got all the mouldings in I put the brambles through it because I wanted that scribblyness back.”

from Crysse’s Blog: