Edwards investigates the sculptural potential of the everyday, often using remnants of previous activities as his starting point - including found or borrowed objects, bits of other works and studio knickknacks.
Often using remnants of previous activities as base material – found or borrowed objects, bits of other works or studio knickknacks – Sean Edwards (born Cardiff, 1980, lives in Abergavenny) investigates the sculptural potential of the everyday. For his recent solo show at Moot, Nottingham, the artist exhibited two recuperated dowels, one of them elongated to match the length of the other, with a layer cake of cork and felt. The patterned regularity of the resulting assemblage displays a distinct graphic sensibility – one that is common to many of Edwards' sculptures.
Since 2006 the artist has been buying a copy of The Sun newspaper every day, and has integrated the publication into a number of artworks. From this starting point Edwards has created works which exploit the tension between two- and three-dimensions. In K_007 (2007) the artist cut a sheet of dolls house paper into the silhouette of a page 3 glamour model, and twisted the paper into a cylinder. Another ongoing work has involved elegantly cutting and compiling the letters 'U' and 'N' from the mastheads of all the issues that Edwards has bought. However, The Sun project is more than just a formal exercise. By incorporating the purchase of the newspaper into his artistic practice, Edwards pointedly brings together the high and low, the quotidian and the 'timeless'.
Edwards also sees this duality in the works of others. During the 2006 World Snooker Championship the artist filmed the crew responsible for assembling the competition tables (Table, 2006). In this video the overwhelming abundance of raw materials – slate tabletops, swathes of green fabric, tacks – highlights the sculptural core of the craftsmen's activity. Similarly, 16mm film Lap Steel (2008) shows a close-up of an anonymous hand playing lap steel guitar. The wooden fingerboard and the metal slide look like the disembodied elements of a moving sculpture, brought together only by the skill and energy of the performing musician.
Edwards' choice of materials is highly self-reflexive. In Untitled (Quilter's tape) (2008) a roll of tape is hung on a big nail hammered high on a wall. If not for its unlikely location it could be a read as a piece of utilitarian equipment, but removed from the studio context the object embodies sheer potentiality, reminiscent of Giovanni Anselmo's twisted cloth piece Torsione (1968). For his Nought to Sixty project, entitled turning it around, slowly, in the light, Edwards presents a sculpture fashioned from off-cuts of wood and cardboard. In this and many of Edwards' previous works there is a sense of objects being in-progress, indeterminate, open to change. His works function like propositions, leaving the conclusion to the viewer. This completion, however, is only ever realised in the exhibition environment, as Edwards believes that works only come into being as a result of their context. Not only does the incompleteness of the work invite the audience to play a part in its creation, it also undermines the perception of the gallery as a space for fully achieved artworks and closed to any further development.