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Statements about "Here and Forever" @ Gallery Diet by Liz Wing and Pablo Guardiola


In some places, when we look up, we can see stars. Regarded individually or as part of a figurative system, stars are good points of entry into that infinite corpus we refer to as “the universe”. To the naked eye they rest on a vast two-dimensional surface, and from some vantage points we treat them as pictures, and we talk about those pictures. Constellations are metaphorical gateways into the more abstract, complex, and paradoxical qualities embedded in the night sky.

Here and Forever includes an installation of a variety of portable radios that artist N. Sean Glover has accumulated over time. These radios, which include any number of everyday, pedestrian radios we might find around the house, play in concert together as constellations. The radios are transported to each site in large cardboard boxes and structured in accord with the particularities of the local environment. The radios define the form of the stack, but are autonomous, transitional objects in and of themselves -- the life purpose of each radio is to project a station into space, and in doing so broadcast a simple worldview. One can zoom in on particular snippets of melody or conversation, or allow the stations to elide and merge in a gesture of aural, glossolalic force. The cardboard box is perforated in correspondence with an existing celestial chart and lit from within, acting as a planetarium; like the radios, the box is both a vessel for the transportation of an entire universe and a discreet tangible object. As with the rest of the pieces in the installation, Rise and Loomer are individuated parts of an aggregated whole, where components resonate in mimetic relationship.

Here and Forever also includes a model of the human ear. Tympanic Observatory, constructed out of commonplace supermarket materials, is based on instructive models -- it doesn’t visually mimic the inner ear, but instead shows its hidden workings. Sound waves pulsating from the radios in Rise reverberate through the ear’s chambers and are indexed in an illuminated reflecting pool. The piece illustrates the mechanics that bear witness to invisible forces and the miraculous effects of those forces; the effect can be both overwhelming and absurd. It is crucial to the artist’s work that these forces are represented with the most straightforward, modest means possible. The combination of these themes threads its way throughout the artist’s work as a whole.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Mr. Glover some months ago we talked about early cosmologists William Herschel and Thomas Wright; about the evolution of telescope design, which Mr. Glover has studied formally; about fresco construction, which Mr. Glover teaches; and about the different radio stations he had grown attached to in his travels. This perambulating exploration of interests is clearly manifested in the artist’s work, where ideas are allowed to collide and coexist in harmony with an open-ended, unresolved scope.

~ Liz Wing




Some time ago I heard a guy on a radio talk show stating that the problem with most of America’s current leaders, and the population in general, is that there is a lack of curiosity. I remember that he used the term “uncurious” referring to the subject. It struck me as a simple, beautiful and not cynical approach to articulating a critique of the current state of events. That guy made me think about Alastair Reid’s work who is still saying: “Face it. Curiosity will not cause us to die--only lack of it will”.

Sean Glover’s work feeds from a voracious curiosity. His work not only reflects the traits of a wonderer but also invites the viewers to take that journey themselves. There is a constant exploration of ideas and materials, all turned into experiments; similar (in aesthetics as in content) to the scientific practices before the “scientific method” was implemented as cannon. In his work there are no gimmicks; metaphors, allegories, and the objects themselves are presented as a phenomenological democracy.

“Here and Forever” is assembled under the idea of a constellation; a malleable one that metamorphoses throughout various forms and concepts holding within itself the potential for multiple permutations. A tower of radios titled “Rise,” reaches, as a monumental sculpture, towards a planetarium that is on the ceiling (titled “Loomer”). This planetarium projects charted celestial bodies through holes made on cardboard boxes; contracting “space”, making it possible to fit it into a shipping container, thus letting it expand through light and its conceptual implications. A series of drawings depicts possible reconfigurations for the pieces. Other drawings focus on different ways of charting, either sound (words, music and noise), or human experience according to its relationship to sound. The structures made with the radios not only occupy the physical space of the gallery but also occupy a conceptual one created by the sound waves emitted by the radios, a volume that could only be defined and measured by each viewer. Phenomena is usually first experienced as an abstraction, then coded into different systems in order to understand it. In the work presented here, the codes are shifted in order to generate new experiences. A clear example of this characteristic is “Tympanic Observatory” where a basic diorama showing how a human ear records sounds is used to abstract sound into a reflection, projecting light onto the ceiling. This show is an invitation and a demonstration that phenomena can be experimented with and moved around like we do the dial on a radio.

-Pablo Guardiola


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