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Gavin William Sewell

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I make intricate, thoughtful mixed-media artworks emphasizing narrative and sensuality. Novelistic storytelling and intuitive abstract painting fuse in wall-sculptures layered with photographs, paint, and found objects applied in diverse ways. From patterns observed in a few select components at the beginning of my process, I interweave layer on layer, adding elements strategically or intuitively to reach a dynamic confrontation of intellect and mood.

While my development has been steadily nourished by great mixed-media artists of the past, including Kurt Schwitters, Robert Rauschenberg and the Kienholzes, I’m also inspired by contemporaries like Fred Tomaselli, Julian Schnabel and Aurel Schmidt. Due to a lifelong visual impairment, I have access to the Library of Congress audio collection; the books I listen to while painting also leave their trace on my work.

I see my pieces as the post-modern equivalents of religious icons, memory gardens or totem poles; objects in which a viewer’s gaze finds and explores systems of interpretation and meaning in a shared situation with the artwork. My practice seizes the anonymous debris of contemporary life - advertisements, litter, media images - and appropriates them into matrices of subjective symbolism. I strive to push the narrative element as far as it can go in materiality and, beyond merely illustrating, signify stories infused with broad, universal themes and questions.

Forum Posts

Reflecting the Hudson

40 x 60 x 3 inches mixed-media and found objects on panel 2012

Posted:7 years ago