Roughing Out: Alex Seton
31 Aug 2013 - 13 Oct 2013
A new body of work by Sydney based artist Alexander Seton, best known for his carved marble sculptures.
Roughing Out was a first for Seton as he broke away from his usual hyper-real, finely carved marble sculptures and focused not so much on the finished object but on the sense of process. The exhibition explored the raw material of marble and the expectations of traditional carving practice through video, sculpture and performance. Sculpture and video works were presented alongside a series of unexpected installations made from dust and recycled marble waste.
Working with the geological structure of marble, Seton used its capacity for metamorphosis as the subject of his new video The Alchemic Cycle (2013). Part still-life, part documentary, the video shows, in a continuous loop, the destruction and reconstitution of a block of marble.
Also central to the exhibition was The Recursive Time Machine, an old pantograph milling machine which sat encased in a clear acrylic structure. Seton used the pantograph to mechanically carve marble reproductions of digitally generated life-size three-dimensional plastic ‘prints’ of his hands.
Complementing the video and performance aspect of the exhibition were works that conveyed the production of the transformative process. Half is made from a single block of marble that has a natural fault running through it. Seton carved a glass of milk from one half of the block and a milk container from the other. The refuse generated from the carving was used to fill a stack of identical milk glasses that surrounded the carvings.
In Dust Hinterglasmalerei (2013) Seton again recycled the carving refuse by using it to produce a series of word-images where the graphic (and material) appearance is as important as their meaning or message. Dust Drawings presented words, written in dust, and held in place by a sheet of Plexiglas, making explicit the playfulness underlying Seton’s practice. Many of the readymade and often clichéd expressions and phrases used, such as song lyrics, ‘Time is on my side’, ‘Making it up as I go along’, and ‘I was here’, have their origins in random notes Seton had scrawled on his studio whiteboard since 2004.
Roughing Out was a unique opportunity to experience and understand Seton’s practice, his journeys of experiment and evolution to date.
Image: Alex Seton, Half 2013 (detail), Satuario marble, 315 duralex glasses and marble dust, glass stone: 56 x 39 x 55 cm, carton stone: 73 x 39 x 40 cm, 250kgs each.