Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Visiting Artist Sean Harris

Sean Harris is fascinated by many things. Among them are: Welsh folklore, topography, mythology, wild boars, Goya's black paintings, songlines, pantomimes, and, most recently, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Lucky for him--and even luckier for us--Sean is working in the studio for the next five weeks.

Sean is the recipient of the Creative Wales Ambassabor Award--an honor which he described by stating, "I feel like I should be sweeping around in a cloak." Sean does not, however, wear a cloak. A cloak would be extremely impractical for the beautiful work Sean does in collagraphy. Based in Wales, Sean has created his own unique hybrid of printmaking and animation. Using fragments of collagraph prints, Sean constructs stop-animation style films which incorporate the landscape and history of Wales.

The titles that Sean has been given over the years range from "animator" to "printmaker" to "archeologist." Sean feels that he inhabits a more liminal space as an artist--constantly drawing from these different studies and titles, but never necessarily being just a "printmaker" or "animator." One of the reasons Sean is so fascinated with Pyramid is the mixture of different processes and media. He likes the idea of different art forms brushing up against each other in the studio.

In the same way that Sean combines different media of art, he combines ideas spanning over different disciplines and places. In particular, Sean has always been drawn to the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsch tales that draw on Celtic mythology. Of the many figures in Welsh mythology, the wild boar appears most frequently in Sean's own work. For Sean, the mythology of Wales is closely linked with the physical landscape through the idea of "songlines"--that is, using traditional song lyrics to map out a landscape. Sean's work explores the relationships between mythological figures, the spaces they inhabit, and their impact on national identity.

Sean last came to the US to study Native American reservations in North Dakota. With a lack of wild boar, he became fascinated with herds of bison and buffalo. While at Pyramid, he hopes to further examine the ties between cultures, creatures, and myths. We're excited to see what he's working on!

Check out Sean's work and films at

1 comment:

  1. Isn't this the same artist who presented his wonderful films at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival a few years back? Glad he is working at Pyramid. He is a real inspiration and a very nice fellow!