Ivan Seal

This is another artist that my tutor suggested I look into. 

First impressions: 

  • He uses a thick impasto technique for the subjects within the picture frame, sometimes it has the look of household paint – the colours are flat and chalky.   
  • The subjects look like sculptures he’s first made out of tons of waste paint, glued together, melted with a heat gun, arranged on a surface and then painted as a portrait. Brilliant!
  • Some of the shapes and mingling of textures end up reminding me of agate.  
  • Titles are meaningless gibberish *see below
  • His website is annoying as all hell to navigate
  • His work is Dali-esque in that the subjects appear to morph into each other or deconstruct and change shape. 
  • I listened to some of his audio work that is accessed on his website by clicking on a large black dot on the lower right hand corner of the page (of course)
  • Trying to get good quality images of his work to display on this learning log was well-nigh impossible. I wish Bridgeman Education stocked more images of contemporary art!

From:  Planet Minecraft (I kid you not)  https://www.planetminecraft.com/texture-pack/ivan-seal-paintings/

  • He has worked with James Leyland Kirby (The Caretaker) on abstract art for his albums, with some of his art complementing the sounds of Stages 1-6 of Everywhere at the End of Time by The Caretaker. The artwork of these albums represents images that correlate with Dementia, as the artwork seems like it’s recognizable but, in reality, one cannot pigeon-hole what’s so recognizable about it.

From: Royal College of Art website – biography    https://www.rca.ac.uk/more/staff/ivan-seal/

Ivan Seal makes paintings viewed as individual parts to a larger ongoing archive. Documenting imagined objects from memory and its unavoidable errors, the archive acts as document to nonsense and ones’ wandering mind. Improvisation and free associative devices become systems to create an image.

Generative and chance processes are also applied to spoken word or sounds which are often presented in relation to sets of paintings. By utilising algorithmic and generative computer programs to repeatedly order and reorder spoken words, the sound works often act as counterpoints to the act of looking. A similar approach is applied to the algorithmic generated nonsense word titles for the paintings.

Ivan Seal ‘Cuckoo diary in a fool pub’ 2015
Ivan Sea – instalation view London exhibition 2015
Ivan Seal ‘The old bends a playful weapon’

I haven’t been able to post images of the works that I really like on here, due to the issues mentioned above. I find Seal’s work playful but with a sinister undertone. I love how he dollops on the paint to create things that are distorted and mangled but somehow real. The backgrounds of his subjects are fascinating, there is hardly anything there to suggest volume or to seat the subject in the plane of the picture yet it all works. There is a lack of obvious distinction / realism in the subjects and yet they form an image that is somehow recognisable. I think his stuff is really cool.

*examples of titles:

a stage preceives a prototype under the incident
banique polotion im blom
bleas mesad
bleach flik spitchudeeinmimowf


https://www.spikeisland.org.uk/programme/exhibitions/ivan-seal/     (art exhibition 2012)

https://carlfreedman.com/artists/ivan-seal/   (gallery representation)

https://www.artnews.com/art-news/artists/ivan-seal-caretaker-unsound-2019-13470/  (art exhibition in Poland – collaboration with The Caretaker)

https://www.artsy.net/artist/ivan-seal  (some artworks0

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/jun/02/artist-ivan-seal  (featurette)



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0h2F60RBEc0   (very short interview)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nljzpgkzF0   (2011 exhibition at RaebervonStenglin Gallery)

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