(Sean’s) collection spans nine years, 1971-1980, ages 4 years and 9 months to 13 years and 6 months. The collection contains 1,140 items, which are reproduced in full on microfiche in the Reference Edition. (Sean’s) work is marked by a spirit of...
Show more(Sean’s) collection spans nine years, 1971-1980, ages 4 years and 9 months to 13 years and 6 months. The collection contains 1,140 items, which are reproduced in full on microfiche in the Reference Edition. (Sean’s) work is marked by a spirit of experimentation, a sense of the artist himself as a medium, and continuing preoccupation with such ideas as transformation, doubleness, reversibility, magic, trickery, disaster and rescue, the hidden world, and befallenness. In visual work, (Sean) used every physical medium available, from paint to prints, photography, and sewing, with preference given to plain pencil. His experimental attitude is further visible in lots of reworking and preliminary and marginal sketches. He is a virtuoso of line; his rare use of color is charged. In both visual and written work, work within the same year veers from great sophistication to less accomplished pieces. Overall, he seems to privilege experimentation over finished statements. Figures are singular, generic. The eye and the self-portrait are two continuous, striking motifs in visual work. Mirroring, images within images (a hand drawing a picture), figure-ground ambiguity, and forms of trickery, punning, magic, and tantalizing/provocative ambiguity, often with an edge of sly humor, are characteristic. In writing, (Sean) also practiced many genres. Unnamed, singular characters and un-located events abound—the boy, the deer, the lady, the cowboy, the river. His language is spare and economical, with occasional stunning adjectives. Action consists of movement and progress is dream-like. Compositional structure is by repetition, recurrence, parallelism, alternation or reversals, which often confuse figure and ground. In the later years, a new lyricism appears, especially in watercolors of land- and seascapes, or, in writing, descriptions of nature.