Widdershins II

Posted on 15th December 2012

5 hour non-stop performance by Shaun Caton.
Phoenix Art Association Brighton.
February 8th 2013.
On view from 6 to 8pm.

Shaun Caton (UK) has presented some 280 performances in galleries, museums and festivals worldwide since the early 1980’s. He calls his performances ‘living breathing images’ and often paints/draws in a self- induced trance. His work has been variously described as ‘epic primordial performance’ (TACTILEbosch, Cardiff) ‘genuinely terrifying’ (The Scotsman) and a ‘cyber shamanic rave’ (Flux Magazine).

moving counter clockwise,
against the grain.
The lunar circle dance of death
in pink quartz verbatim.
Song of the painted river stones.
Hum of the stink tuber.
Trapping the spiral.’

Shaun Caton 2012.

Caton’s performances are uniquely created specifically for each space and are characterised by transitional duration, expressionistic use of colour, with ‘endless variations’ (Stewart Home, 2009). Celebrated American poet, Clayton Eshleman, recently described Caton’s performances as a ‘supernatural garden’. Caton is deeply preoccupied with creating a seething magical cosmology of images and signs that emerge from some imagined prehistoric dreamtime. Watching his work unravel, expand and contract through time is deeply absorbing and takes the viewer on a visually stunning experience. The effort and concentration applied to each performance is so demanding that every gesture and nuance is a punctuation mark in a living, breathing, picture.

The performance is like watching a curious ritual game being played in which automatic drawings act as momentary pointers to a world far beyond the everyday. Caton builds layer upon layer of images, interweaving the connections between drawings and totemic objects. This is performance in its pure, raw state, that seems to hover in its own spectral world, beckoning the viewer inside. It’s hypnotic, and leaves spectators with a lasting impression long after the performance has ended.