Fire Tent, linocut on kozo, 14” x 20,” 2014.

My creative research involves the production of, prints, artists’ books drawings, and sculpture/installations that explore the impact of technology on the environment and our bodies. Specifically, I am interested in creating visual images that blur boundaries between the biological and the technological, the organic and the mechanical, and challenge viewers to consider the implications of this merging. The work references historic scientific illustrations/objects from another era, fictional science, and biological forms, while simultaneously suggesting an imagined world of myth or religious cosmology. Images often move between abstraction and representation, so that narratives and associations to the real world are implied but left open-ended and unresolved. For example, the drawings fluctuate between microscopic and macroscropic readings, on the one hand referencing large-scale maps depicting river systems, and on the other hand suggesting veins or capillaries within the interior of a body.

Although the work looks to the past for inspiration, its merging of mechanistic and organic languages is intended to point viewers towards a contemporary context in which advances in technology are rapidly changing our relationship to the natural world, biology, and our own bodies. In particular, the work has a whimsical, absurd quality, while also feeling somber and oppressive- qualities that reflect the sense of hope and anxiety that society often feels in relation to the possible impacts of new technology.

 

Sean Caulfield
Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design, University of Alberta

Sean Caulfield is a Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta. He has exhibited his prints, drawings, installations and artist’s books extensively throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Recent exhibitions include: The Flood, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; Firedamp, dc3 Art Projects, Edmonton; The Body in Question(s), UQAM Gallery, Montreal; Perceptions of Promise, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, USA/Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta; The New World, The Centre for Modern and Contemporary Art, Debrecen, Hungary.

Caulfield has received numerous grants and awards for his work including: The Special Award of the Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Krakow Triennial, 2015; SSHRC Dissemination Grant: Canadian Stem Cell Network Impact Grant; SSHRC Fine Arts Creation Grant; Canada Council Travel Grant; and a Visual Arts Fellowship, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois, USA. Caulfield’s work is in various public and private collections including: Houghton Library, Harvard University, USA; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England; Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA. In 2017 Caulfield was elected to the Arts Division of the Academy of the Arts and Humanities of the Royal Society of Canada.