SAMSTAG ALUMNI 2001

Shaun Gladwell
Born 1972, Auburn, New South Wales

Using an absurdist logic that joins together things belonging to different categories, the project of Shaun Gladwell is loose canon anarchic. Historical cultural material, contemporary technologies, and the urban landscape are boiled up together in his pot. The result, in Gladwell's own words: 'John Glover would have made excellent skateboards in his spare time.'

Gladwell is interested in the creative distortions resulting from the transmission of images and ideas between different cultural zones and historical periods. In Warped Wood, he juxtaposes a Glover painting (an image that has been digitally copied and compressed along the horizontal axis and then repainted) with two custom-made skateboards. Building on the superficial connection between the curved lines of a typical Glover tree, and a skateboard's bent plywood deck, Gladwell sees a parallel between the two cultural activities. The distortion of natural form in Glover's paintings is mirrored in the way in which the skateboarder recodes the urban landscape, reassigning or distorting the use-value of urban architecture: 'the hand-rail becomes a slippery dip.'

A champion 'freestyle' skateboarder, in the video Kickflipping Flaneur, Gladwell draws a connection between the activity of the skateboarder in the contemporary urban city and the Modernist hero of the nineteenth century city, Baudelaire's Flaneur, 'strolling/rolling incognito through the city'. The compelling, yet curious, works resulting from these wideball associations make a convincing argument for the 'wrong science' school of art.

Robyn McKenzie from her Samstag catalogue essay, Art and Research
 
2001 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2001 Associate Research Student, Goldsmiths College, London, UK 
1998 Candidate for Master of Fine Art, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney 
1996 Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours), Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney