Sam Austen

Head Floating in a Volcanic Sea (after Blake)

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Year 2021
Medium Acrylic on paper
Dimensions 29.7 x 21 cm

About the work

This is a drawing of a memory of a tiny watercolour by William Blake. A head, or just the head visible of a body, is swirling in a dark ocean, while a volcano has erupted in the background, the ash in the sky creating the darkness of night. I could grasp the deep below the head, which was blind to the dangers underneath – submarine lava flows and fast waters, like a strange dream ocean. Perhaps this is an afterlife of inferno. Or floating severed in our own world, its soul is already in another.

About the artist:

Born 1986 London, Sam Austen lives and works in London. Graduated from BA Fine Art Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (2009); and Royal Academy Schools, London (2017).

Early animated cinema, graphic novels, horror film, and science fiction are particular influences on Austen’s work. Primarily he produces 16mm films that utilise a range of in-camera multi-layered special effects, shooting an array of studio-built objects, material and texts.

Austen is interested in creating an awareness of the image as a physical entity, something that wrestles with its non-physical nature, wrangling with an excessively expanding eye that flirts with both the virtual and the real. A constant vortex of looking and longing, both inwards and outwards of the image.

Selected solo exhibitions include Sentient Summer, Sundy, London (2021); Hologram Burnt On To The Retina, Farbvision, Berlin (2018); Run!! For The Present, Deptford X, London (2017); Such Animals, Paradise Row, London (2014); A Cool Drink To Cheek, Plaza Plaza, London (2014); and Angry Film, The Sunday Painter, London (2010). Selected group exhibitions include IMAGE DRUM, Royal Academy, London (2019); Out of Eye, Laure Genillard, London (2019); New Work II: Material, Cob Gallery, London (2018); CHUMMING, The Pipe Factory, Glasgow (2018); Like Honey From A Weed, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Goodwood (2017); Premiums Interim Projects, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2016); Tomb, Shrine, Survey-marker, Spare part, Enclave, London (2014); Dreamland, Garis and Hahn, New York (2014); Open Heart Surgey, The Moving Museum, London (2013); The Instability of the Image, Paradise Row, London (2013); Young London, V22, London (2012); and Seconds, The Sunday Painter, London (2011).

Awards include the ACME Studio Prize, Chelsea (2009).

← David Austen

Green Tree 18.11.20

Charles Avery →


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