Sean Mueller grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2015 he received a B.A. in Studio Art from the College of Charleston. During his time at the College of Charleston he cultivated an interest in Public Art. In 2014, he received a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities for a collaborative sculpture project intended to create large scale works for public display. These sculptures have since been displayed in three locations across the nation, including, North Charleston, SC, Colorado Springs, CO, and New Port Beach, CA. In May, 2019, Sean graduated with a M.F.A. in Art from the University of Oklahoma. He was awarded the Mid-South Sculptors Alliance Merit Award and the John R. Potts Sculpture Award for his work.
Sean’s work centers on self-reflection, and most recently, confronting the difficult questions that come with facing the loss of a loved one. He hopes through his work with digital and traditional media, to create a space for contemplation and a mechanism for introspection.
In Charleston, South Carolina, at The Middleton Place, there is an enormous tree my family used to visit. Looking at it, you can observe steel rods surgically inserted, preventing its massive branches from collapsing. Cement is poured into the voids of the trunk where it has weathered and rotted away. It seems as though it is slowly becoming something inanimate. Something between a living organism and a synthetic body–perhaps something of a sculpture.
The tree re-emerged as a motif in my work as my grandparents’ health started to decline. As the similarities between the tree and their aging bodies became more apparent, the increasingly synthetic tree became a way to think about my relationship to my family and the difficult questions that come with facing the loss of loved ones.
I work to develop sites and installations designed for contemplation. To me, the work reveals itself as a method for coping with the most difficult questions we must ask ourselves. I feel this struggle in my desire to express my inner-thoughts and feelings, and yet, I often lack the ability to find the words or the form. The thoughts and feelings are present, they are considered, sculpted, worked upon, and then buried. It is this feeling that I aim to explore in my work. It is as much about grief and self-reflection as it is the feeling of being buried by your own self-reliance, and mental fortitude.