East Midlands

Sean Edwards seems to see things differently or perhaps it is that he implores us to look at things differently, drawing attention to the nuances and intricacies in the everyday, those slight differences, those unattended and innocuous happenings amongst our surroundings that seek to beg our recognition of the poetic in the banal, elucidating the often overlooked beatific structures that form the fabric of our visual world. A carrier bag filled with utmost precision to refrain from misbalance hangs inelegantly from an oaken broom handle perched above a doorway. Pine dowels with painted ends rest atop small stacks of cork circles placed inconspicuously in one corner. A diminutive block of American Cherry wood supports card colour swatches that delicately contact a central pillar and a plastic mayonnaise tub exhorts us with its swirling contents of multi-coloured chipboard sticks to follow the artists preferred path of circumnavigation around the space.

Whilst enunciating an exultant tone in the unglamorous, formalist materiality of the work – adherent to those modernist sentiments of beauty in the pure and unembellished – Edwards’ sculptures and installations make to unravel and displace the conceived functionality of objects and materials, concurrently de-contextualising and re-contextualising them through a subjective system of examination and re-presentation. In short Edwards’ audaciously minimal sculptures employ modernist aesthetic sensibilities in the spirit of the Duchampian readymade, often hailed as the dawn of postmodernism and ask us to perceive them in this new light as art objects, not simply as objects that will at some point constitute one material component of what will later become art.

Edwards’ work is a celebratory use of banality. Objects that at first glance appear as stark and unremarkable as the state of inertia, in which they once rested in DIY stores that they formally inhabited, become transformed. Systematically placed here too, these materials rest hopefully, tentatively poised between a state of benign dysfunctionality and a charged and simmering potential seemingly awaiting the affirmation derived from the artists touch or the fleeting, inquisitive glance of a passer by. In their new state these subtle gestures transcend their normative placement becoming imbued with an almost ritualistic significance once the process of Edwards’ systematic reconstitution has been applied making to effectuate or insight by way of considered process, a kind of aesthetic harmony.

Edwards’ work represents an interesting duality between the alleatoric – something incidental or happening by chance – and the interventional, between things balanced precariously on the cusp of inconsequentiality and insignificance and those that demand to be studied with scrupulosity. But, first and foremost, his work requires not just to be merely looked at but really to be seen.