Sean Branagan's work has a hint of the impossible, but nearly graspable about it. He doesn't describe the world we know - i.e. he doesn't focus on the scaffolding, in which we communally invest, through language and social order to run our lives - an approach that delivers the comforting satisfaction of affirmation and recognition. Instead he attempts to breach 'The Real'  – something that differentiates itself from what could be called 'artificial' to be more total, but which is certainly discernible from the imaginary and fanciful.
As a vehicle for 'time', 'light' and 'movement' (elements as valid to his practice as more conventional ones in painting like line, form and colour) the role of the projector has been variously considered in past work. For example, it was built inside the work in the LIGHT FORMS series, it was suspended closely overhead on clamps in works like 'Peep Show' and 'Where the Sun is Silent' (pieces recently seen in the group show PHYSICOLOGY at this gallery).
In those pieces light was always applied to the surface (via the projector) This exhibition sees the adoption of LCD screens, allowing light and movement to emanate from within the work. However, light is also applied externally onto the work; these paintings are lit from the front, and are to be seen in the full light of the gallery space, as in any other painting show.
Branagan describes the urge in his studio to hold one end of a ribbon and throw the other end outwards, through and into the work. This feels less about creating a navigable bridge between the tangible and intangible (because this assumes a difference, or a journey, that takes you from one thing, to another, different thing - the conceptual world of the painting and his own reality) it is more about an orchestration of seeing and feeling the work homogenously, about embracing the idea that perhaps there is no difference, perhaps there is only one thing – 'The Real'.
In 'Constructs in the Mind of a Sceptic', lines of drawing are conventionally applied onto the Perspex, as a painter might apply them to his canvas, but then they are also (unconventionally) applied at the filming stage as part of the figure's environment. As the figure moves, some of the lines are attached to her body and move to her will. We are presented with drawing that was made before filming took place; drawing made during the filming, by the figure as she moved/moves; drawing on the surface of the Perspex and finally drawing on the walls- created by the shadows that result from the surface, in places, being transparent.
Caravaggio – 'beyond the fingers'
In Caravaggio's 'Supper at Emmaus' 1601, the picture plane is established by a figure on the right, whose left arm and fingers reach out towards the viewer. Those fingers may as well mark the edge of the world. They actually mark the edge of the space in the painting, but they indicate a potential to break through, pop the bubble; touch us. In 'Odd things persist for inexplicable reasons' the bars around the head and face extend out towards us; actually pop the bubble. Resin on the surface of the work titled 'Fleshless Lovers' magnifies the pixels in the film, drawing them out, and away from the image inside the painting.
Text by Della Gooden
"It is the task of radical thought, since the world is given to us in unintelligibility, to make it more unintelligible, more enigmatic, more fabulous." Jean Baudrillard.
 According to Jacques Lacan, one must always distinguish between reality (the fantasy world we convince ourselves is the world around us) and the real (a materiality of existence beyond language and thus beyond expressibility). So much are we reliant on our linguistic and social version of "reality" that the eruption of pure materiality (of the real) into our lives is radically disruptive. And yet, the real is the rock against which all of our artificial linguistic and social structures necessarily fail.” See Jacques Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis. Trans. Alan Sheridan. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. New York: Norton, 1977.
Born in Old Trafford, England, Branagan studied for his BA at BIAD (Birmingham City University). He has received the Salford City Arts Bursary, 1st Prize; a studio practice grant from The Pollock Krasner Foundation, New York and an 'Art for Architecture' grant from the Royal Society of Arts. In June 2010 he was in Physicology, a moving image exhibition with Yael Schmidt and Cecile Wesolowski. Solo shows include: Un-Still Life, 2009 at the Kusseneers Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium; The Solo Project, 2009 & 2010 Basel, Switzerland; Painting with People II, 2008 at STUDIO ONE, the GRV, Edinburgh, Scotland; LIGHT FORMS, 2007 at VINEspace London. Group shows include: Shibboleth, The Cafe Gallery Projects London; Painting Unlimited at APT Gallery London. In 2009 he exhibited in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, as part of ROMA, the Road to Contemporary Art. Sean Branagan lives and works in London.
*Sean and the gallery would like to give very special thanks to PAUL McGRATH for his invaluable technical expertise in the making of this work.
WORKS IN THE SHOW: