Alex Seton’s artistic practice incorporates marble sculpture, photography, video and installation to examine problematic ideas and concepts and give them form. Always carefully considered, Seton’s artworks playfully sit at the junction of an idea, forcing a choice in the viewer as a litmus test of their own disposition. Often with heart and humour, his beguiling surfaces reveal themselves to be not as simple or polite as they first appear. Whether contemplating notions of nationhood, legacy and privacy or the problematic relationship between individual and society, the personal and cultural always collide in his work in a complex relationship between form and substance.
Seton’s engagement with his audience and contemporary society runs in parallel with investigations into the history and alchemy of his medium. Well-known for marble carving, Seton flouts and expands upon the traditions of sculpture, exploring the materiality of marble with works that use the chemistry and properties of marble as poetic device. Often returning to photography, video, sound, and ephemeral works in his practice, Seton most recently breaks with the constraints of physical sculpture with Augmented Reality artworks.
Seton has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, including significant solo exhibitions Platform, Unit, London (2021); Meet Me Under The Dome, Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney (2020); The Great Escape, Goulburn Regional Gallery (2020); Once There, Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore (2019); Alex Seton: The Island, Newcastle Art Gallery (2017); As of Today, Australian War Memorial, Canberra (2014-15); Last Resort, which was held jointly across McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery and Linden Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, and then toured to Rockhampton Art Gallery (2014-15); and Roughing Out, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre (2013).
Recent group exhibitions include the regionally touring exhibition Safe Space (2018-2021); Hope Dies Last, Art at the End of Optimism, Gertrude Contemporary (2019); Love, Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre (2019); All We Can’t See, Yellow House, Sydney (2018); I Was Here, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia (2017); Less than – art and reductionism, QUT Art Museum, Brisbane (2017); Countercurrents, Samstag Museum, Adelaide (2017); Young & Free | An Australian Discourse, Bega Valley Regional Gallery (2017); Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2016); Contour 556, Canberra Public Art Festival (2016); Kunstenfestival Watou, Belgium (2016); Gifted Artists: Donations by Patrick Corrigan AM, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2014); Conflict: Contemporary Responses to War, University of Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2014); and Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2014).
Seton has also been awarded numerous residencies and art prizes, notably being the first Australian artist to win the prestigious Sovereign Asian Art Award in 2020 and receiving the Mordant Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome in 2019. He also won the Contemporary Talents Prize at the Fondation François Schneider, Wattwiller, France in 2017.
In 2021, the Australian War Memorial awarded Seton the major Sufferings of War and Service commission. His large-scale installation For Every Drop Shed in Anguish will be launched in the Sculpture Garden in 2023.
His work is held in collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Artbank, Art Gallery of South Australia, Australian War Memorial, Newcastle Art Gallery, Bendigo Art Gallery, the Danish Royal Art Collection, Copenhagen, and Alnoba Art Park New Hampshire, USA, and numerous other private and public collections.
Seton is represented by Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney and Singapore.