Detail: Skyrise Basin. 2022. -coffee wash, micro-glitter, colored pencil, graphite pencil, gel pen. -30.5” x 22”

Sean K Irwin is a Philadelphia based artist.

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Artist Statement:

My recent body of work has its origins in the Spring of 2019. Kneeling beside my young daughter, I found myself drawing simple, sidewalk-chalk doodles. While she worked on her own compositions, my web of concentric-circle patterns grew across our stoop. I have always believed that great ideas can come from simple, no pressure, acts.

These intuitive, circular patterns soon found their way into my studio, ending up on the surface of my cast dryer-lint sculptures. Delicate lines and circles were painted in PVA and then doused with a coat of micro-glitter, giving the very simple sculptural forms a tattooed and embellished look. As I undertook to investigate and advance this method, I imprinted and coated the cast forms in new ways, inviting the glitter lines to relate to–and obstruct–the three-dimensional forms.

The surface compositions eventually moved to paper, out of a desire for immediacy and a need to create work outside of the sculpture studio. My earliest drawings–dating back to the summer of 2020–also followed an intuitive pattern. They were all drawn in groups of three, in the same scale (16”x 11”,) and with the same materials (colored pencil, graphite pencil, gouache, gel pens and painted microglitter.)

In these works on paper, the drawn shapes become the cast and tool marks once inflicted on the surface of my sculptural forms. The linear and concentric glitter embellishes the paint and pencil work, accentuating and moving through negative space.

The drawings continue to evolve, moving from simple compositions to newly introduced subject matter. Most recently, I am exploring a drawing-to-drawing story narrative. With the use of many materials and methods, I am currently dealing with themes that showcase alarm, emergency, new beginning and hope.

My concentric circles of material exploration ripple outward and inward–simultaneously–in both sculptural and flattened form.