Sean Capone

About the Artist

As an artist working in the public sphere, Sean is interested in using moving imagery as a means to reflect on the experience of the built environment and the ever-present flow of media information, and to engage this flow as part of the very architectural fabric of the environment itself. He uses generative animation techniques as a way of exploring painterly gesture, form and rhythm across lyrically dense, ever-evolving compositions. Sean believes that in our contemporary media-saturated culture, the ‘screen’ is not only a surface to observe but an actual space to enter and inhabit. More of his work can be viewed at www.seancapone.com.

Exhibitions, Screenings, Festivals, Public Art

SOLO & TWO-PERSON SHOWS

2018 SL Gallery, New York, NY, “Black Night/White Light”
Made In NY Media Center, Brooklyn, NY, “Golgotha”.
150 Media Stream, Chicago IL, “Cities & The Sky III”
Cube Art Project, Lincoln NE, “The Sky Report”
2017 Harris Building Art Center, Grand Rapids, MI, “The Sky Report”.
2016 Los Ojos Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, “A Garden Sown”.
2012 MCAF Gallery, Cold Spring, NY, “Cold Spring 2”.
2011 DCKT Contemporary, NYC, “Still Life & Motion: Sean Capone & Everest Hall”.
Martine Chaisson Gallery, New Orleans, LA, “Sean Capone: Video”.
NEXT Art Fair, Chicago IL, “NEXT Projects”.
SOFA Fair, Park Avenue Armory, NYC, “Floralwall”.
2010 DUMBO Art Festival, Brooklyn, NY, “Floralwall (Skull & Void)”.
DUMBO Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY, “Field Transitions/Memory Screens”.
NEXT Art Fair, Chicago IL, “NEXT Projects”.
2009 DUMBO Art Festival, Brooklyn, NY, “Camera Rosetum,” public art installation.
2007 Monkeytown, Brooklyn, NY, “Graphic Nature”.MUSEUM EVENTS & COMMISSIONS
2016 SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA, “Modern Ball”.
2011 Museum of Arts and Design, NYC, “Fluorescent Ball”.
Brooklyn Museum, NYC, “Brooklyn Artists Ball: Pink Narcissus”.
2010 Museum of Modern Art, NYC , “FloralWall”, film benefit gala.
Museum of Modern Art, NYC , “Camera Rosetum”, Armory gala.
Shoji Museum of Photography, Tottori, Japan, “Water & Light Project”.
2009 Chelsea Art Museum, NYC, “Camera Rosetum #2”.
Chelsea Art Museum, NYC, “SubRosa”.

GROUP SHOWS, FESTIVALS & PUBLIC ARTWORKS

2018 Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY, “Loops”.
Supernova Digital Animation Festival, Denver, CO, “Reality Bytes”.
CVM Symposium 2018, Sonoma State University, CA, “Exploring & Preserving Visual Music”.
Untitled Space, New York, NY, “Art In Motion”.
Perth Cultural Center Screen, public art screen, Australia.
UMW Media Wall, public art screen, Fredericksburg, VA.
Digital Graffiti Festival, Alys Beach, FL.
2017 Cineteca Nacional Cinema, Mexico City, Visual Art Week, “Videorama”.
Edit Mystika, Tel Aviv, “Video Forever 34: Arty Dancing”.
Testing Grounds, Melbourne, “Another Space”.
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, “Ciné-Concert: Contemporary Experiments in Animation”.
San Diego Art Institute, San Diego CA, “Diverge/Convene: Contemporary Mixed Media”.
Cube Art Project, Lincoln, NE, public art program.
2017 SAIC/NYU galleries, touring program, Chicago/New York, “The Real-Fake v2”.
ArtSpace, Staten Island, NY, “LUMEN8”.Here Arts Center, NYC, “No Tomorrow”.
Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France, “Dance With Me Video”.
Musée de la Chasse, Paris, France, “Video Forever: Duo”.
Light Year Program 22, Brooklyn, NY, “Neo Past Forward”.
2016 Topographie de l’Art, Paris, France, “Dendromorphies”.
Bronx ArtSpace, Bronx, NY, “The Real-Fake.org.02”.
Young Projects Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, “VURT”.
Gertrude St Projection Festival, Melbourne, “A milieu de mémoire”
Digital Graffiti Festival, Alys Beach, FL, “Rehearsals”.
AC Institute, NYC, “Our Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days”.
Centre des Arts Actuels Skol, Digital Arts Biennial, Montreal, “Google and Eternal Life”.
ISEA2016, Hong Kong, “Noise Contra Signal”.
2014 Museum of Biblical Art, NYC, “Back To Eden: Artists Wander The Garden”.
Royal Caribbean, Miami, FL, “Synchromatics,” (permanent installation).
Wallplay Space, NYC, “Separation Anxiety”.
Fridge Art Fair, Long Island City, NY, “Video Fridge”.
2013 Kunsthalle Detroit Museum, Detroit International Videonale, Detroit, MI, “I See You”.
Christopher Henry Gallery, NYC, “Antioxidant/Promantic”.
2011 Ferrin Contemporary, North Adams, MA, “Pursuit Of Porcelain” (2011).
2010 Lumen Festival, Staten Island, NY, “Camera Rosetum/Floralwall”.
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, “Dallas VideoFest”.
Fountain Art Fair, Miami, FL, “Special Projects”.
2009 Oakland University Gallery, Oakland, MI, “Contemporary Flanerie”.
Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, VT, “Relentless Eye”.
Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ, “1×1: Investigations of Place”.
Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN, “Polymer”.
Livebox, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL, “Bits And Pieces”.
Arlington Cultural Affairs Public Art Program, Arlington, VA, “Night Gallery Rosslyn”.
Video Kills: International Video Art Festival, Berlin, Germany.
Square Eyes Festival, Arnhem, The Netherlands, “Made In Arnhem”.
Trampoline, Glastonbury Festival, UK, “Do Billboards Dream of Electric Screens”.
Digital Graffiti Video Festival, Alys Beach, FL.
SMart Multimedia Art Festival, Grand Rapids, MI, “The Horizon Is Dead”.
2008 Projections On Lake, public art, Pasadena, CA.
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL, “Wide Open/PixelPops”.
Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY, “Video DUMBO 2008”.
Digital Graffiti Festival, Alys Beach, FL.
M5 Space, Chicago, IL, “Echo”.
Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ, “Biological Imperative”.
Dislocate 08, Yokohama, Japan, “Festival for Art, Technology & Locality”.
Urban Screens 08, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia.
2007 Images Festival 20, “Pop Garden”, Toronto, Canada.
Boston Cyberarts Fest: Visual Music Marathon, Northeastern University, Boston, MA.
Victory Media Arts Project, public art screen, Dallas TX.
Urban Screens Manchester, public art screen, touring program, UK.
Trampoline, public art screen, UK, “Do Billboards Dream of Electric Screens”.
Onedotzero Festival of the Moving Image, London, UK, “Terrain 07”.
3-Legged Dog, NY Architecture League Beaux-Art Ball, NYC, “Smoke + Mirrors”.
2006 Cologne OFF/VideoChannel, Cologne, Germany, “Image Vs. Music”.
New York Digital Salon, NYC, “Abstract Visual Music Project: Sonic Frames”.
Cityzooms, Cologne, Germany, “Up And Coming Festival”.
2005 Open-End Gallery, Chicago, IL, “VersionFest 05: Urban Gardening”.
Optronica Visual Music Festival, London UK.
DUMBO Arts Festival, Brooklyn, NY, “Matelas Pneumatique”.

AWARDS & RESIDENCIES

2018 Digital Graffiti Festival, Juried Prize, Alys Beach FL.
2017 Cube Art Project, Juried Prize, Lincoln, NE.
2016 Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, artist in residence, Omaha, NE.
Digital Graffiti Festival, artist in residence & commission, Alys Beach, FL.
2015 Digital Graffiti Festival, Juried Prize, Alys Beach FL.
2010 Americans for the Arts Public Art Network: Year In Review selection ‘Best Public Art Projects’.
DUMBO Arts Festival, Grand Prize for Public Art Installation, Studio residency, Brooklyn NY.
2008 Projections On Lake, Finalist Competition Prize, Los Angeles CA.
Echo, Exhibition Grand Prize, M5 Space, Chicago IL.
Victory Media Project, Inaugural Grand Prize, Victory Arts Plaza, Dallas TX.

DIGITAL PLATFORMS & ARTIST EDITIONS

Electric Objects, “Guide”, open streaming edition.
Depict, ‘Video Abstractions’, limited streaming edition.
New Museum, “Floralwall”, “Pink Narcissus”, limited USB drive artist editions.
Light Rhythm Visuals, “Notations”, DVD anthology.
Art Institute of Chicago Modern Wing, designs for Museum Shop merchandise & apparel.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2014 Ken Johnson, “A Garden Divine”, The New York Times, July.
Benjamin Sutton, “You’ll Fall For Back To Eden”, News.artnet.com, August.
Chris Herlinger, “Garden Of Eden Exhibit”, The Washington Post, August.
Rhett Jones, “Artist’s Notebook: Sean Capone”, AnimalNewYork.com, October.
2008 Alex Hawgood, “Strike A Posy, Take A Bow,” NY Times Style magazine (print/online), Spring.
2007 “Crime and Ornament”, IdN Magazine (print/DVD), Vol.14 No. 2.
”vE-jA: Art + Technology of Live Audio/Video”, Xarene Eskander, ed., h4 San Francisco (book/DVD).

Education

1994 Master of Fine Arts, Time Arts Studies, The School of the Art Institute at Chicago
1992 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Video Art/New Genres, University of Texas at Arlington

Sean graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a MFA in Time Arts, having previously studied under pioneering experimental media artist Jim Pomeroy at the University of Texas.

Interview

Q: The 150 Media Stream itself is like a giant landscape, could you talk about the sense of the space in the work you create in relationship to the installation’s scale? Did the fragmented structure of the wall create challenges in achieving that sense of space?
A: I was very concerned about the fragmentation of the surface in terms of visual clarity — my work tends to have a lot of visual information and details. At first I wanted to address each unique ‘blade’ of the video wall individually, thinking sculpturally or architecturally about it. But after a few tests I learned to relax after realizing the viewer’s minds filled in the gaps of visual information, so it didn’t have to be so tightly mapped … and also that the screen itself is so high resolution and so vast that one’s perceptual & perspectival space is always shifting. Thus, the viewer’s bodily presence physically moving through the lobby, taking the screens in a section at a time, is essential to the overall visual experience. I decided against finely detailed imagery, opting instead to use more negative space and broader fields of flat, flowing color than I would use if it were a single-channel video. The negative space, at this scale, becomes a kind of portal, a penetration through the morphing canyons and efflorescing forms.
Q: Your work references painters, especially those working with abstract landscapes. Do you see your work as a moving painting?
A: I will sometimes refer to the work as ‘moving painting’ as a kind of shorthand, but I don’t see it as operating in the contemporary field of expanded painting. Not fully. Maybe I share some of the same concerns— the intersection of digital techniques with more traditional materialist practices, for example. And I certainly do draw a lot — drawing is how I storyboard, conceptualize and develop the work. In the animations, I do insert visual references to painterly strokes and gestures, but that’s more by way of synthesizing the energy of those forms to remind myself of animation’s foundational relationship to drawing and mark-making — even as the field of animation becomes increasingly digital and automated. But, out of respect to the serious endeavor of painting, I will say I am creating animations which are meant to function philosophically and perceptually as a contemporary form of ‘expanded cinema’ as theorized by the media scholar Gene Youngblood. He wrote the seminal text which described a speculative form of immersive, post-cinematic media ‘atmospherics’ which has now become our cultural reality — for better or worse!
Q: You talked about creating romanticism completely from a piece of machinery. Could you elaborate on that and the relationship of computers to landscapes?
A: Animation is a rather tedious affair. Whether working traditionally or digitally, the long solitary hours creating a couple seconds of imagery is something you have to contend with, meditate upon, and generate energy from. Occasionally I have to remind myself that it’s really quite an extraordinary thing, to sit down at a computer and emerge some hours later with a piece of film, an artwork or video ‘object’ that didn’t exist before, that can be instantly experienced and disseminated into the culture. And unlike traditional artwork which exists at a fixed physical scale, video is infinitely scalable, modular, and portable. This was the creative-artist-as-hacker dream of the 90s, which is the romanticism I was talking about. Kind of a fake but very seductive countercultural fantasy — the aesthetic that was in the air around when I started out, made possible by the introduction of personal computers and software of seemingly otherworldly power capable of creating new kinds of images, videos, music, architecture, etc all in one package — and all within the power of a single user with no specialized training or access. My choice of imagery: urban and natural landscapes, abstract ambient visuals, and so on, was my attempt to create the same kind of experiential atmosphere of the kind of music I was listening to (Harold Budd, The Orb, Eno, Morton Feldman, et. all.) … often categorized as ‘sonic landscapes.’ But of course, every few months I freak out and swear I’m going to throw my computers out the window and disappear into the countryside to study ceramics, become a farm-to-table chef, or do something ‘real’ that I can actually wrap my hands around…
Q: How do you maintain a studio practice in New York?
A: Clawing up the mountainside, one fingernail at a time!
In addition to patching together an uncertain livelihood from commissions, prizes, and artwork sales, I use my skillset in animation and design to take on commercial projects. I was very active in the motion graphics field for a long time, but since moving to New York I shifted to working mostly in the event & fashion industries. More than just a way to make extra cash, these jobs opened up different channels of creativity and collaboration for my own work. I think as a video/film artist you have to develop this kind of flexibility. I would love to be a video artist set designer for the theater and performing arts! The field of moving-image scenography has become very established now and really exciting to me— lots of potential.