Storm Sequence, 2000
inkjet print, 2 from an edition of 5
Private collection, Sydney
Shaun Gladwell's 'Storm Sequence' (2000) is a photographic still from his video of the same name. Arguably the most iconic of the artist's single-channel video works, it marks a key moment in Gladwell's exploration of the relationship between the body, space and time. The slow-motion video shows the artist moving deftly on his skateboard against a stormy oceanfront at Bondi Beach.
This intimate photograph captures the figure in mid-flight, as he gracefully pirouettes on his board. The setting deliberately evokes a sense of the sublime, with white-capped waves and a brooding sky forming a backdrop to the action. Gladwell often sites the history of painting as his most important influence and here the artist references the tradition of romanticism, and in particular, the stormy seascapes of J.M.W. Turner. The flecks of rain on the surface of the image remind us of the work's photomedia origins, and yet Gladwell's unique treatment of the media is also suggestive of a pointillist, impressionist painting. Featuring the artist himself, this photograph is both a dramatic portrait of the Australian landscape and a dynamic self-portrait of the artist.
framed 41 x 53.5 cm
Shaun Gladwell is one of Australia's leading artists in video and time-based media, celebrated for his explorations of site and the body in motion, the Australian landscape and popular culture. At the completion of his MFA at Sydney's College of Fine Arts, a Samstag scholarship took the artist to London where his fellowship at Goldsmith's College, University of London in 2002 backed onto a residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris.
The solo exhibition Kickflipping Flaneur at Artspace, Sydney in 2000 is seen as the breakthrough moment of Gladwell's career. He featured in the Bienial de Sao Paulo Brazil, 2006 and, in 2007 was included in the Robert Storr exhibition at the 52nd Venice Biennale, Think with the senses, feel with the mind - art in the present tense. This is remembered as a paradigm shift for the reception of video art by a contemporary Australian artist; a defining moment that saw a single-channel video with sound seriously regarded as a seminal work of its time and a new addition to the Australian canon. Gladwell further exhibited in the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009. That year he also travelled to Afghanistan as Australia's official war artist.
In 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, staged the major solo exhibition Shaun Gladwell: Pacific Undertow, Gladwell's largest solo exhibition to date. His most recent innovations have been with virtual reality, including the work Orbital Vanitas (2017) which placed viewers inside a skull orbiting the Earth. Orbital Vanitas premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (2017) and was selected for the Cannes Film Festival (2017).