Project 006: Sean Slemon


In the Red/In the Black

14 January - 13 February 2010

Brodie/Stevenson is pleased to present its first exhibition of 2010: In the Red/In the Black, an exhibition by Sean Slemon comprising installation, drawing and prints.

The show takes its title from a site-specific work located in the project space of the gallery. A dead tree has been given a second life - resurrected to perform as signifier and stand-in. Gilded with gold leaf and suspended in the centre of the room using red and black ribbons, the tree is a marker of the relationship between nature and finance, a metaphor for the mode of consumption that dominates both realms. It makes subtle reference to the terms 'in the black' and 'in the red' which describe the financial status of a company or an individual.

Slemon notes: "Over the last few years my work has looked at nature and how it has been co-opted by people in order to create profit. Living in an urban space makes nature that much more pertinent and things like green space and natural light take on new meaning. I am concerned with the politics of access to these areas of natural infrastructure and how they are obtained and used."

In the artist's tree drawings such as Acacia in debt: enlarged canopy for additional insurance and heavier coverage (Extra room for bigger tree schools), we see a version of nature that has evolved in order to survive. Extremely large canopies or trunks, taller than the surrounding buildings, allow these mutant plants to access sunlight and air in their urban environments.

Acacia in debt also makes reference to 'tree schools', in which children are literally schooled under trees due to a lack of built infrastructure. The artist's response to this is to offer an almost absurd solution by creating larger tree canopies for bigger schools. These are of course fantastical but make the point that we are in debt to nature, increasingly 'in the red'.

The exhibition will open on Thursday 14 January, 6-8pm. The gallery is open from Tuesday to Friday, 10.30am to 5.30pm, and Saturday from 9.30am to 3pm.