Sean Slemon is a South African artist from Cape Town, living and working in Brooklyn, New York since 2005. He is recognized for addressing socio-political issues pertaining to the commoditization and distribution of natural resources. His examination of how land, light and street trees are co-opted to create advantage or discriminate underscores the active and passive decisions we make as a society. The result is an intense interrogation of public vs. private property, its ownership, and the impact this distribution can have on people’s lives.
Formally trained in sculpture, Slemon now incorporates installation, drawing and photography, seeking media that reinforce the concept. Embedding materials such as chalk, soil and concrete help to build physical and ideological layers and create theoretical conflicts. He primarily builds and fabricates sculptures himself using gypsum, fiberglass and other materials; however, recent projects have employed other fabrication techniques, using 3D computer modeling and working with industrial fabricators to produce works on a larger and more complex scale.
Slemon obtained an MFA from Pratt Institute in New York and a BFA from Michaelis School of Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town. He has been featured in numerous publications, and completed residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and Chashama in New York. He has been awarded grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York and the National Arts Council of South Africa; and won the 2005 Sasol New Signatures Award for emerging artists in South Africa.
Slemon’s work has been shown in the U.S., Europe and South Africa. Major site specific installations include Uplift: The Mountain (2008) at the Palazzo delle Papesse in Siena, and The Light at 7:00 am (2009) for No Longer Empty’s Reflecting Transformation show in Chelsea, NY. Most recently, Goods for Me (2011) was featured at Art Miami in the THINK BIG! show, curated by LaRete Art Projects.
In 2014 Slemon completed a commission for First National Bank; a series of five public sculptures for their Johannesburg Bank City precinct.