McClymont’s practice incorporates a range of materials and practices that include sculpture, photography and video. His most recent works reproduce natural phenomena as a means of exploring scientific and philosophical ideas. The means of production and installation of the work often reveals the science behind it. At the same time, it acknowledges that there is something inherently unknowable and uncontrollable about the way in which naturally or artificially induced phenomena behave that is capable of inducing awe and wonder.
Works planned for the exhibition include several large inflated steel forms that demonstrate the effect of changing air pressure upon a sealed form, and a tornado produced using a humidifier and fans strapped to a simple scaffolding structure. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the eponymous artwork Everything we are capable of seeing, McClymont’s nighttime rainbow. The colors produced by this installation represent every hue that a human being is capable of seeing. McClymont made this work in riposte to the poem Lamia by Keats, to demonstrate that knowledge of optics and of the relationships between visible light and color does not “unweave a rainbow” or undermine the sense of wonder and awe it can affect. Other works pick up on this epistemological theme and seek to demonstrate a connection with knowledge, process and beauty.
To McClymont, the processes used to create the works are often more important than the actual finished artwork:
“My artwork is a continuing process of discovery and experimentation. Each piece follows the last in a continual journey of investigation into cultural and physical phenomena. The work is underlined by a search for what it is to be human. This might be our position in time and space on a grand scale, or singular observations on subjects that fascinate me. Each piece takes a small subject area and breaks it down into something understandable and perhaps beautiful.”
At times, artworks take the form of direct demonstration, or experimentation: phenomena are removed from the world and reduced to their essence. At other times, the artworks are formed by phenomena: a process that is out of the artist’s control, where the final work points to the process that created the sculpture or image.
McClymont lets the concept dictate the materials and method, producing artworks ranging from large-scale installations to iPhone applications; yet underlying all the work is a deep concern for beauty and reason.
Elysia Borowy-Reeder, CAM Raleigh executive director and curator of the exhibition, says:
“McClymont suggests new ways of experiencing art—Alistair McClymont makes night-time rainbows, suspends raindrops in mid-air and creates tornadoes with deceptively simple machines. A UK based artist working in sculpture, photography and video, McClymont describes these as ‘phenomena’ artworks, in which he tries to capture natural, often overlooked occurrences and evoke a sense of wonder. CAM Raleigh is proud to make his United States debut. Don’t miss the opening night of the exhibition and February First Friday when you can catch his nighttime rainbow which lends its title to the exhibition: Everything we are capable of seeing.”
Alistair McClymont graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2005 with an MA in Sculpture. Recent solo exhibitions include noshowspace, London (2012), The Art House Foundation, London (2012), ‘The Limitations of Logic’ at the Wyer Gallery, London (2009) and at Hull Art Lab (2005). Recent group exhibitions include ‘Brittle Crazie Glasse’ at Islington Mill, Salford (2012), ‘Blue Skies’, Dundee Contemporary Arts (2012), ‘V22 Summer Club’, London, (2012), ‘Title to be decided*’, Mexico, Leeds, (2012), Construction Gallery, London (2012), ‘LABoral - Experimental Station’, Los Prados, Spain (2011-12), ‘Experimental Station, Research and Artist Phenomena’, CA2M Madrid (2011). His work can be found in permanent collections at the Gibberd Sculpture Garden in Essex and at Credit Agricole.