Sean Mahan “Somewhere in Moonlight”
February 25th – March 26th, 2023
Haven Gallery is pleased to present Florida based artist Sean Mahan for his second solo show at the gallery entitled “Somewhere in Moonlight”. “Somewhere in Moonlight” features eleven new acrylic paintings that play with the idea of perception through the obscurity of reality. Mahan utilizes a realist technique to portray his sitters and their accompanying technologies, yet his surrealistic stylization and play on color manipulate one’s perception, ultimately allowing our imaginations to usurp our logic. Soft gray backgrounds and spotlight effects draw the viewer in, immersing them into the inner ruminations of his females as they engage with their analog devices. Mahan’s inclusion of these tools of creative expression serve as a conduit of interpretation, ultimately resulting in visual and audible constitutions open to a myriad of comprehensions. Nostalgic in its aesthetics, Mahan’s work embarks on period imagery and fashions to convey deeper trains of thought. Questioning what one interprets is an exercise harking back to historical Surrealists such as René Magritte, asking the viewer to look beyond one’s own concrete understandings, and see beyond, to the multitude of possibilities one may find without the confines of control. About Sean Mahan Sean Mahan is a social realist figurative painter who works with graphite and acrylic washes on wood to depict a sense of wonder about the innate warmth of the human character and its conflict with structures of power and control. Artist Statement: When we encounter a space that is somewhat ambiguous and somewhat undefined, our hard-edged understanding loses some of its certainty. The filters we see the world through become more apparent as they act upon the ambiguity around us. For example, in the evening light when we mistake a rope in the grass for a snake, it reveals how we are observing our surroundings with a kind of caution. But we also enjoy the uncertainty of the moonlight because it encourages us to feel open to sense possibility – to develop a filter that allows us to embed a sweetness into the undefined. In the moonlight we enact a kind of subtractive synthesis – like how a sound-wave, full of rich harmonics passes through a filter to shape its sound. In the same way, our perception acts like a filter. Through careful observation over time, we develop a set of distinctions that open up a wider range of appreciation, thereby cultivating a more focused lens. It’s through that lens we may discover that the beauty is situated in the way we are seeing, not in what we are seeing. While an ambiguous environment can be unsettling, it’s also an opportunity for perceiving beauty. We are able to actively filter what we experience, subtracting a vision of beauty from the overwhelming tide of sensory input. Our places of focus, and the set of expectations that have developed through our background experiences, become our lens of understanding. We can choose to set aside time to bask in the undefined space, and find beauty there through our personal and shared filters. Like moonlight filtering through the blue atmosphere or a radio receiver tuned to receive music. These paintings explore what we might find within uncertainty, somewhere in the moonlight.