Text by Anna Varendorf
‘where did you find it?’ ‘under my foot as I walked, over there’ ‘did you feel it through your shoe?’ ‘yep’ ‘how old is it?’ ‘no idea, but probably really old’ ‘can I have it?’ ‘no, it mine!’
the texture of time is strangely compelling. from its markings we are free to imagine objects as part of history, amongst a cannon of projected or inferred experiences. stories can be gleaned from time’s tattoo upon the objects skin. the real story of the surface need not be as exciting as the evocation of the objects journey, the whiff of history that settles in the porosity of its surface provides the fodder for our imaginings.
from this space of evocation Seb Brown’s objects and works on paper within the context of his exhibition 'Support' speak as relics, but are from the now. they afford the observer moments where the ancient collides with the present. they offer a glint of mysticism by playing with connotations of time passed.
the abstract and poetic markings on their skin look like lacerations and peelings that uncover another layer of texture, another scarring. there seems no end to their depths, but for the delicacy of the object, the thinness of the paper.
making, rather then finding his objects, gives Seb’s hands a moment of voice. from these hands come tactile, textural forms – relics that are burnished and pulled from imaginings, alluding to the gestural, to dark psyches, the object textured by time, and the mysterious. the forms are simple and the textures intuitive: dents, hatchings, scratches. they take up small secrets and offer a place for shadows to hide.
in the gallery space for 'Support', one moves around and between the pieces with a curiosity made greater by the layering and interfering they have been placed to achieve. one is forced to look around some objects to be able to see others, to contort and to re-position ones self in order to take note of the markings and forms. shuffling and observing, ones actions mirror the surfaces of the work, one is absorbed into the space.
a warping of time is achieved as Seb’s pieces are seen against the backdrop of the white gallery surface. isolated from the world, but not decontexturalised as they are not from the world. the exhibition space harbours a potential stillness. one could feel alone in observing the earthy textures and colours, the gentle creature-like markings, the layering of whispered shapes, and could fossic amongst these interwoven skins. experiences discovered within the organised ambiguity.
these discoveries, formed by Seb’s hands, are personal offerings. suggested to you, never prescribed. if you look closely, there are whispers of more. details almost missable, but vital to the layering of time and texture in the room. responsible for transporting you away into a space of the organic, away from the formally resolved.
'scratching the surface'
Anna Varendorf, February 2016.
Seb Brown’s latest body of work Support straddles the line between museum display and visual merchandising – where does the work end and the display structure begin.
Reflecting the underlying, the unspoken and the everyday – and incorporating the process in the outcome; Brown explores placement of objects in relation to one and other and their place in an interrupted workspace within the gallery.
Support is an experiment in form and texture spanning drawing, sculpture and jewellery.