Sydney-based artist Alex Seton is best known for his refined technical skill in carving Wombeyan marble, a legacy of his childhood growing up in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales near a local quarry. His multi-disciplinary practice incorporates photography, video, sculpture and installation to develop a relationship between the various language structures of these mediums. In his marble works, ephemeral everyday items including clothing, inflatable objects and our nation’s flag become enduring relics of our culture, provoking a contradiction between the material’s permanence and the subject’s ostensible plasticity.
His most recent works extend this tension into new conceptual terrain. 2013’s Roughing Out saw Seton turn his attention to the act of creation itself and the tension between analogue and digital practice. In 2014’s Somebody died trying to have a life like mine at the Adelaide Biennial, sculpture stands as memorial for asylum seeker lives lost at sea, tackling head on a divisive political issue. By infusing the rich heritage of Classical statuary with resolutely contemporary concerns, Seton gives weight to the issues we face in the here and now, asking us to engage more than fleetingly.
Seton has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Solo exhibitions include Roughing Out, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, Sydney (2013); Six More, Australian War Memorial, Canberra (2012) and Elegy on Resistance, ARTHK12, Hong Kong (2012). Recent group exhibitions include Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2014); Australia: Contemporary Voices, The Fine Art Society Contemporary, London (2013) and Gravity of Sculpture: Part II, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, New York (2013). Seton has been the recipient of a number of prizes, such as the Prometheus Visual Arts Prize (2009), the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize (2009) and the People’s Choice Award for the Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award (2006), as well as being a finalist in the 2013 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales. The artist was also granted the Inaugural Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence, Margaret Olley Art Centre, Tweed River Art Gallery, Murwillumbah, in 2014.