Something to Anticipate
Born in 1962 in Galesburg, Illinois, Sean Culver’s childhood
echoed in many ways a 19th Century rural life. The family home however
was everything but a typical American house, it had been built by
his grandfather, a carpenter, out of an abandoned railroad boxcar.
This home provided not only a powerful metaphor for Culver’s
future work, it instilled in him a life-long fascination for memory-rich
worlds enclosed within the unlimited potential of miniature spaces.
Culver’s career has been as varied as the many materials and
artforms he utilizes. At The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
he studied classical black & white photography as well as painting
conservation, and collaborated on 'DESCENT' and 'VIRIDIAN', two major
independent films, on which he served as cinematographer, sound designer
and co-editor. He subsequently created large-scale illusionistic paintings
and miniature sculptural works based on his photographic images. These
boxed environments were designed to filter and reflect light, facilitating
the visual transformation of forms which made his photographs so transcendent.
In each piece, some form of photographic image is either central to,
or is otherwise informing, the sculptural work.
Sean Culver has cultivated a distinct form of revelation. These box
constructions distill dream and history museum diorama into evocative
experience, recalling the work of the European Surrealists, and American
visionaries; George Innes, Edward Hopper, Joseph Cornell, and David
Lynch. Inside these boxes are contemplative spaces where we reflect
on among other things the sacrifice of the industrial worker within
landscapes somehow both urban and rural.
As a natural extension of this vision, Culver has mastered the obscure
and demanding 19th century craft of making Daguerreotypes. These photographs
are sharply defined images on plates of highly polished silver, and
Culver is one of only a handful of artists around the world working
in this medium today. Culver’s work with Daguerreotypes however
is unique and powerful because of the boxed environments he lovingly
constructs for each image.
Sean Culver’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions
and Daguerreian Society Symposiums. In 2005 he will be one of only
nine artists invited to participate in the contemporary Daguerreotype
exhibition “Casting a New Light” which will travel to
eight cities across the United States. Culver’s images are featured
as well on the web at the primary contemporary Daguerreotype site: