Carl Sean McMahon grew up on Salt Spring Island. After graduating Gulf Island Secondary School, he attended the Victoria College of Art before traveling in Asia. After his travels, he went to the University of Victoria to pursue his interest in art. At the University he explored different artistic disciplines including sculpture, painting, digital media and video production. Carl Sean currently lives on Salt Spring Island, working from his studio to focus on his metal sculptures. He has established CSM Gallery & Studio to further the development of his art.
I consider my work a “resurgence”, since it is created primarily (90+%) from reclaimed materials – the by-products of today’s society. My sculptures revive the abandoned materials by giving them new meaning and purpose. The design of each sculpture is not preconceived, but rather dictated by the aesthetic merits of each individual component.
Through the development of my work, I have been able to observe the interaction of individuals as they relate to the details of each sculpture. The use of these materials brought to my attention the interaction the audience has with each individual sculpture. Some of the viewers are drawn to the recognition of materials that were identifiable from their everyday lives, while others preferred pieces that have been altered so that the original components were no longer easily recognizable. It was these two reactions that inspired me to explore this tension in my development process.
Until recently, I have been focusing on creating works that have very few recognizable components, but decided to exaggerate aspects of them to become feature components of the sculptures. Certain attributes, such as a sharp angle of a chair arm or the curve of a wheel arch, help determine the visual flow of the piece. Certain mechanical components are integrated into the sculptures not only for the aesthetic qualities, but also for their relation to movement. The sculpture is able to strip away the functionality of the individual components to emphasize their aesthetic merit. The outcome is to reinforce the idea that any material can go through a metamorphosis and become contrary to its formal existence.