PAINTER8 Arts Society


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Montréal - NYC

I make thoughtful often intricate mixed media
art objects, paintings, and prints. The work’s concerns generally evolve on three axes: First, my experience as a person with low and decreasing vision has heightened my sensitivity to the invisible, ambiguous, the distorted,
the grey, and the blurry, as well as the paradoxes of being a visual artist with extreme low vision.

Second, the social and economic concerns of growing up in a dying factory town often inform my choice of materials and palette. In a dual nod to the rustbelt
and to mixed media masters like Kurt Schwitters, Louise Bourgeois, the Kienholzes, Fred Tomaselli, and Julian Schnabel, I gravitate towards discarded objects from thriftstores or dumpsters; old magazines and picture
books made obsolete by overproduction. My practice seizes consumerism’s anonymous debris of advertisements, litter, and media images and appropriates it into matrices of subjective symbolism.

Third, a lifelong interest in literature and philosophy often provides approaches and subjects. Because of my visual impairment, I have access to the Library of Congress audio collection for the blind, and the books I listen to while making art transmit a powerful trace to my work.
Surreal storytelling and abstract painting interplay in wallsculptures layered with photographs and found objects. From patterns discovered in a few select components at the beginning of my process, I interweave layers of material like subplots of a novel, adding elements strategically or
intuitively to reach a dynamic equilibrium of intellect and emotion.

The pieces are often conceived as postmodern
equivalents to religious icons, memory gardens or totem poles: thought provoking objects in which a viewer’s gaze finds and explores systems of interpretation and meaning. I play in the realm between narration and hypnotic suggestion, implying halfseen stories of the absurd, the paradoxical, and the hopeful too.


image right: Knowing She Has Wings, collage, 30" x 40"
followed by Swiftly Tilting, collage on paper



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Knowing She has Wings by Gavin Sewell

Gavin Sewell