Combining elements of fine art, architecture and functional design, Seth Howe’s practice is an ongoing investigation into the nature of perception. Through elementary forms, a literal approach to materials and a considered use of space, his work encourages an active exchange between artwork and audience, reinforcing the mutability of perception by emphasizing the viewing experience as a subjective, embodied event unfolding in real time.
Perception, the interface through which we navigate the external world, lies at the intersection of three elements: our immediate sensorial experiences; our memories of those experiences, layered over time; and the languages (visual, verbal and cultural) that we use to process those memories. Deeply engrained and ever evolving, these elements gradually meld into a formal worldview – a lens suggesting a fixed, ‘conventional’ perspective of the world. Howe’s work actively challenges these constructs, urging the viewer to experience their surroundings in a newly direct and expansive fashion.
Howe prompts this shift in perspective by emphasizing the physical realities of both his materials and design: working in a wide range of mediums and modalities, he subtly evokes the vocabularies of Minimalist-era art and design, employing sparse compositions, precise application and inventive strategies of presentation towards highly sensory, potentially revelatory ends. Through their simplified geometries, serial motifs and elegant design, the resulting works ultimately serve as a pretext for a profound sensory encounter: for as we observe the objects in physical space, the items in turn ‘respond’ back to us, heightening our awareness of the surrounding environment while reaffirming the mutable nature of perception itself.