Sean Sprague is an internationally recognized Canadian visual artist that works with the photographic medium. Sprague’s practice is keenly interested in the cusp that photography occupies between the real and the fabricated. His work has been exhibited throughout North America, recognized by the Canada Council for the Arts, and featured in many publications including The New Yorker and Time.
Sprague began working with the tableau form to push against the ephemerality of images we encounter online. Treating the photograph as autonomous work pushes against conventional notions that the medium requires the multiple to shape meaning – that somehow an individual painting or a sculpture is enough, yet photography requires more. His practice found a paradoxical response by creating singular works that utilize a multitude of images. Beginning in 2013, he started photographing scenes in thousands of close-up pieces. These materials are selected, edited, and meticulously combined to digitally construct each work. There is no original image. This process embodies the view that a photograph is never unadulterated.
Sprague studied at the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto and received his MFA from the University of California Los Angeles.
The “everyday” now entails confronting anxieties and jealousies produced from social media, message boards of abuse and discrimination, the further aestheticization of politics, and a relentless digital image-world. To record such things can seem impossible and inadequate. These works were produced by casting and directing actors to perform “documentary” scenes. Intentionally including ambiguities and multiple narratives, these works point to the multiple truths that can occupy the same space at once. Mixing constructed and found elements of each within a single picture, these works seek to question how we define the real and how the photographic medium can be a unique site for that redefinition.
To view more of Sean Sprague’s work please visit their website.