Sean Erwin

Artist Statement

I am interested in the use of narrative as a way of understanding the human condition and those experiences that define our personal identities. The stories we tell help to reveal those archetypes, experiences, and myths that are made familiar to each of us through our collective unconscious. As a result, stories possess the unique ability to generate self-reflection and allow us to empathize with one another. My work uses this ability of narrative to inform and amuse as a device to engage the viewer while trying to understand some truth about human nature and the world around us.

The content of my work is initially derived from personal experiences that are then fictionalized into sculptural narratives. Although the work is personal in its origin, each piece is inherently public in its scope, relying on the ethical reflection of our shared humanity to generate meaning. My practice layers the sensorial experience of objects and materials with iconography distilled from my surrounding culture, both past and present. This information is then articulated through the seductive lens of craft as a strategic means of providing entertainment as well as adding to the works critical aesthetic. The details of each piece aim to captivate and sustain the viewer’s attention long enough to promote discovery and self-awareness. My goal is to have these sculptural compositions act not only as inanimate repositories of our personal views and aspirations, but to have them also serve as platforms to explore new formal and conceptual possibilities. The work is ultimately an attempt to sensitize our consciousness to the complex social ecology of human nature and raise awareness toward issues of gender, identity, race, spirituality, beauty and power.

-- Sean Erwin


Sean Erwin received an MFA from the University of South Florida in 2008 and BA in studio art from Stetson University in 2004. He currently resides in Deland, Florida working as a studio artist and adjunct professor for the visual arts department at Stetson University. Prior to his appointment at Stetson University, Sean was a long term resident at the Archie Bray Foundation as a recipient of the Lilian Fellowship for ceramic arts. He has held numerous exhibitions both locally and nationally and in 2014 was selected to represent the Ceramic Top 40 with a solo exhibition at Red Star Studios in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to his active exhibition record, Sean has also been involved in several artist lectures, workshops, conferences and symposiums. His work questions the validity of behavioral expectations prescribed by social normatives and employs humor in an attempt to reinvent these expectations within the timeless medium of ceramic sculpture.