Sean Duffell’s assemblages are historical remnants created and represented as somewhat of a cabinet of curiosity, depicting environments of a lost and forgotten yesteryear combined with found historical elements relating to specific areas of Aotearoa.
These disused, abandoned places were at one point of time an integral part of New Zealand’s society, these are now long forgotten and overlooked. This new body of artwork (which shifts from Sean’s usual graphic mural based artwork) is the result of Sean’s curiosity and fascination of exploring abandoned spaces throughout New Zealand as well as expanding his theme and ethos of his past artwork – that all life is cyclic in nature.
Sean collects fragments from abandoned spaces that he finds interesting as individual objects and breathes new life into them by assembling them into specific compositions that house many of these mentioned objects to form one aesthetically well-balanced composition as a historical representation of the place in which they came from. Newspaper cuttings create a narrative and theme for the piece as well as a time and place, whilst taxidermy and skeletons of small animals are a representation of the ever-continuing cyclic nature of life and a more obvious visual metaphor of death, which these specific places Sean has explored have surrendered to. These animals would have also been the new inhabitants of many of these places after humans had left. All taxidermy has been created by Wellington Taxidermy artist Antoinette Ratcliffe.
Sean has a deep appreciation for the Arts and Crafts movement where quality was foremost over quantity and style reigned over necessity. When most contemporary art goes forward Sean goes backwards to find inspiration to then create something ‘new’ in this ever-increasing technological age ruled by mass-produced, cheap, throwaway expendable consumable items. Sean also pays homage to the Arte Povera movement by using non-traditional recycled materials to create this new body of work.
Sean Duffell has been working as a full-time Artist for the past 6 years. He has consistently and extensively travelled creating artwork throughout New Zealand as well as teaching and creating art in Brasil, Cambodia, Nepal, Thailand, Australia and Europe;
"My artwork has lead me to all manner of pockets and areas of the world and while I’m in these far flung areas I love to explore, research and make a true connection with a place rather than painting a mural and leaving again. I want to know more about the place I travel to create my mahi and to connect and experience these places deeper. This body of artwork is a bold step for me stylewise and is the result of my oddball curiosity of exploring abandoned spaces and finding beauty and interest where others possibly wouldn’t."
Join Sean to celebrate the opening of his exhibition on Saturday 17 October, 5pm. All welcome! Light refreshments will be served.
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