works by Sean Downey

On view April 1 - May 5 2019

This work began as a reflection on our relationship to screens, and the screen’s relationship to, and origins in, painting. Images have always been, in part, an attempt to crush space and time and to lure viewers into an Orphic journey, or down a click hole. My current work takes a variety of images, some deeply personal and others fairly arbitrary, and attempts to fuse them by processing them through a very handmade approach to painting. Image transparency has become a way to collage vertically and to compress the composition, in the way a movie poster might try to crowd the highlights of a complicated story into a single, static image. Confusing the source imagery has also become a way to keep my approach and response hovering in an abstract space even as the images remain for the most part recognizable. The resulting syntheses ideally create new meanings that are fundamentally non-verbal(visual), yet invite interpretation(language). The recent glazed ceramic works in many ways mimic my painting process (some of the flatter works can look more like gouache paintings than glazed ceramic); clay, however, allows for some of the image gestures to become physicalized as low-relief textures, forms, and undulations. The attempt to paint (in underglaze) a flat image over a curved or textured surface produces some of the same opportunities that arise when painting vertically collaged, transparent images. The in-between state I am after in both the ceramics and paintings also seems to mirror my own lived experience, as a consciousness attempting to sift through and make sense of a nonstop onslaught of thoughts, memories, and experiences.

Sean Downey received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MFA from Boston University. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Steven Zevitas Gallery (Boston, MA), LaMontagne Gallery (Boston, MA), and University of Massachusetts Lowell. Downey is a 2013 recipient of the Blanche E. Colman Award, a 2014 recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, and a 2015 MacDowell Colony Fellow. He is a founding member of the Boston-based collaborative kijidome, winner of the 2015 James and Audrey Foster Prize from the ICA Boston. He currently lives and works in Fairfield, IA, where he is an Associate Professor of Art at Maharishi University.

For inquiries and sales, please contact


Please join us for a closing reception with the artist on Sunday May 5th in the cafe from 5-6:30pm.