Sewell’s artworks explore relationships between form, colour, light, space and sound, contributing to conversations on connections between abstraction and spiritual experience. Recent sculptural, installation and photographic artworks, seek to evoke the unfathomable mystery and beauty of cosmic phenomena, and act as a potential threshold into the terrain of the numinous. Sculptural and photographic works include the use of spherical and circular forms that reflect artist Karen Sewell’s interest in celestial bodies and sacred geometries.
Sewell’s foregrounding of the everyday materials of her works’ construction also suggests moments of access between the material and the intangible. Photographic works are photograms and lumen prints, some made at the dawn of day. These recast found and everyday materials (polystyrene balls from a do-it-yourself set of our solar system and glass paperweights) as celestial bodies hovering in deep space. The resulting compositions evoke celestial events and the cosmos, and for some, perhaps the earliest representations of our solar system. Sound components in recent installations are created from NASA Voyager recordings made in deep space around the planets and moons of our solar system. This information, when sent back to Earth and decoded, can be heard as enigmatic and intriguing sounds from space – the music of the spheres.
Sewell’s interest in levitation, a quality suggested by her suspension of forms appearing to hover in space, is influenced by ideas of ascension and transcendence, and conduits between the material and ethereal realms. She aspires to draw viewers’ attention to look and think beyond the material – and into the realm of feeling – in order to experience the possibilities of wonder. Sewells unique offering artistically and professionally is through her creation of innovative artworks (often) in unexpected and alternative exhibition spaces that offer the viewer the potential for an experience of the unseen and unknown. She is pioneering a dialogue between contemporary art, histories of faith and sites of worship, to be re-connected. Photographic artworks have emerged from the immersive space experience. Both the practices of the installation and photographic artworks, work together in combination to achieve the exhibition experience.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Karen Sewell is a visual artist who works across media that include sculpture, installation, photography, painting, sound and light. Sewell is interested in the intersection of art with spiritual experience, in particular, human experiences of the numinous. Numinous speaks to everything within the realm of our experience which cannot be quantified, explained, or contained. Our intuition, and our feeling-states, our connection to the cosmos, and for some a sense of the divine.
Sewell lives and works in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland, New Zealand. In 2016 she graduated with a Masters in Fine Art with Honours from Whitecliffe College of Art and Design. Her work has been selected for multiple awards, including the Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards, the New Zealand Portrait Awards, the Wallace Art Awards, and in 2011 she won the Premier Award at the Waitakere Trusts Art Awards. Her work is represented in national and international private collections. Sewell is the current artist in residence at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, New Zealand.
© Karen Sewell