MONTAGE OF ATTRACTIONS.

SEANA GAVIN'S 'EVERGREEN METROPOLIS.

Seana Gavin's canvases are filled with imaginative juxtapositions. Her collages are built up like Dali’s landscapes, teeming with symbolic resonance and a twist of sci-fi futures, and the occasional pop of allusion (a pair of lips hang in a sky, echoing Man Ray). Appearing in installations at Soho House, and in publications including AnOther magazine, her work starts from the distinctly two-dimensional form of cut-and-paste montage and then, through symmetry, repetition or disorientation, suggests the specific dimensional qualities of an otherworldly place.

In a special commission for A/D/O she has developed Evergreen Metropolis, a stop-motion animation and series of limited edition prints surveying New York from the perspective of everyday life and new technology.

What is the 'Evergreen Metropolis'?

With this specific work the context was New York. I was interested in approaching it as a site specific commission and I wanted it to relate to the residents of New York and their daily experience. I was also researching ideas on the future of design and technology in the urban environment. Including alternative energy sources, robots and insect drones. Which is where I came up with the idea of the USBee.

The USBee: that’s the insect drone, I get it. Along with robot street cleaners and floating parks these become part of a cityscape where technology and nature intersect and overlap?

I like the idea of passersby feeling a sense of abstraction, absurdity and recognition when they see their city in a surreal, sci-fi context. My work is about landscape and environments that often feel otherworldly and Evergreen Metropolis is part of that vision.

Can you walk me through your working process? Does the overall composition get "roughed in" and then worked out in specifics, or do you start working on some specific part first and let it grow from there?

Generally once I’m clear on the mood and theme of a piece an overall vision comes to my mind. Then I spend a while pulling together imagery that may fit. I aim to be open with my thinking and let my imagination expand without limitation. And I try to have fun with adding in humorous and sometimes odd elements.

The process is quite intuitive and organic for me. I begin to roughly cut out collage pieces and play around with compositions and juxtapositions. Then I add in and eliminate until it takes shape. I only begin to stick things down when I’m 100% satisfied. I can be a perfectionist with how the colours relate to each other and want the perspective to make sense. My aim is for the viewer to feel as if they are physically entering a space or environment.

Do you find yourself situating your work in a particular context within the continuum of art and design?

I sometimes feel like an "outsider" in the art world as I don’t fit into an obvious box. I’m not sure labels are so important. Because of the nature of my work it can fall into different areas, and I’d prefer to not give myself boundaries.

How would you characterize this vision of the future - could it be said that nature and technology are in conflict?

When I first began working on the piece I hadn’t decided on the ending. I was focussing on the cycle of life and power play between man and technology versus Nature. As the film developed it steered towards nature eventually taking over.  I like the idea that "nature always wins."

Limited editions and numbered prints of Seana Gavin's work are now available in the A/D/O store. To see more of Seana's work, visit her website here