James Seow was born in Malaysia and has resided in the UK since moving there in the late 90s. He received an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art in 2014, where he developed work across a range of media and techniques, including print, photography, sculpture and installation. He explores connections between traditional Eastern, Western art and the contemporary, using digital techniques and modern visual language to interrogate these connections.
The relationship between nature and urban life is a key focus in Seow’s practice. His work is informed by his early life experience, witnessing the huge transformation of Malaysia through its massive deforestation and urban planning policies of the 90s. Seow plays with how ideals of universal equality and harmony can be communicated, often drawing on the imagery of parks and gardens, illustrating the dichotomy between constructed environments and the ephemerality of the natural world. Working with the interplay between the natural and the artificial, the rational and the instinctive, he encourages a critical rethinking of contemporary reality.
“Garden Path” is a body of work inspired by Eastern and Western aesthetics of nature through the relationship between gardening and art, these complex photomontages draw reference from Chinese classical ink painting, Western 19th century Romantic landscape painting and 17th century still-life painting.
Like a gardener, Seow digitally renders a vision of a mythical and harmonious universe. Using thousands of carefully selected pieces of online imagery to construct the work, he reflects on an image-driven society, particularly how much of the contemporary experience of nature occurs through digital means. Exploring scale, colour and repetition, the work addresses nostalgia, history, and how experiences of nature and cultural practice intersect.
Seow’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in various private collections including Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, Royal College of Art, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and St James, Berkeley Group, UK.