“Pitch-black head breaking out in red currants, in spikes, in blisters,
head a field sprouting buds, pebbles, studs…”
Clayton Eshelman from his poem ‘Witchery’.
Shaun Caton’s work has been recently described as ‘Epic primordial performance and shamanic scribbles’ (tactileBOSCH) and ‘Genuinely terrifying’ (The Scotsman). Working in live art since the early 1980’s Caton has given some 227 performances worldwide but still remains an elusive artist to categorise.
His work is characterised by extreme duration, potent use of colour and mysterious physical transformations in substances and materials. Using trance as a gateway into performance, Caton creates a strange and unsettling universe that evokes something of the psychic within the primitive.
Inspired and influenced by prehistoric art forms and cultures, Caton immerses himself deep in the shamanic tradition of performance ritual in order to evoke a hallucinatory rite of passage utilising all manor of humdrum daily objects, transforming them through repetition and variation, into fetishistic objects that take on new significance and meaning (hinting at talismanic magic). Painting and drawing also being integral to his work, serve as an unconscious mappa mundi of what occurs. It is not uncommon for Caton to create hundreds of tiny drawings during one live work, frantically reeling them off one after another – his hand moving at great speed across fragments of paper – like the automatic writing of psychic mediums.
All of THE performances are non verbal and use pre-recorded sound (brownsierra and Gavin Bennett) worked into and through his imagery that not only provides a layered, potent atmosphere but also enhances his trance state.
No performance is ever repeated and every experience is entirely unique to each space. At the (MEN) Gallery, Caton will create a living painted installation that uses the space as an earth womb or cavern populated by recycled and reanimated deities.
Shaun Caton lives in London.
2nd – 16th October 2009