Explore the Human Consciousness with Expanded Eye
The Dada and Surrealist movements were a breakthrough moment for the art world, when ideas became infused in a concept rather than the end aesthetic (though the end aesthetic was particularly eye catching).
It is this concept over aesthetic idea that Expanded Eye play on. The London and France based duo is made up of creative couple Jade Tomlinson and Kev James. After studying together in Norwich, they set up their own multi-disciplinary studio in the UK capital where they create illustrations and sculptures in a unique style. More recently, they’ve ventured into the tattoo world, where they’ve quickly made a name for themselves with their stylistic interpretation of ideas and theories.
Their ultimate aim? “To create art with purpose and meaning,” something that comes into full swing in their wooden sculptures that depict various parts of the human consciousness.
In much of their work, Expanded Eye heavily utilize geometric shapes straight out of the Dada and Cubist movements, but they contrast them with notions of the natural world, creating a juxtaposition between manmade and organic matter.
Their new three-dimensional wood sculptures and assemblages are built from found and repurposed wood, again highlighting their desire to work on a natural level. The shaped fragments become the canvas, while faces, limbs, and other aspects of human life are depicted through colourful, surrealist illustrations.
The process for creating these pieces is fairly formulaic for the duo. It begins with a sketch that gradually morphs into a 3D representation, but the final aesthetic constantly changes as the piece develops. “The aesthetic is an exciting process of unconscious evolution,” they say, adding that “the pieces grow and take shape” when the duo immerse themselves in their London studio surrounded by reclaimed wood and objects picked up from around the city.
Through each and every piece there are threads of symbolism – something that has come to define the couple’s work. “A lot of our sculpture pieces are based on the concept of the universe, and on the concept of time and how it’s a manmade construct,” says Tomlinson. For the duo, the idea that time isn’t real is a common theme throughout their work, whether it is their sculpture pieces, illustrations, or tattoos.
Inspiration for Expanded Eye comes in many different forms. The Surrealist and Dada movements are obviously a major influence, but they also draw ideas from the past. “We use a lot of vintage and recycled materials in our work,” says Tomlinson, adding that they “love to find beauty in things that people throw away.”
For the duo, the past is an important part of every piece. “We illustrate stories and every story is in the past so there’s always nostalgia,” adds James.
Then there’s the influence of Einstein and the idea that “we’re all connected and that we’re all one.” In each of Expanded Eye’s wooden sculptures, there’s an element of joint consciousness; that we’re all in this together, and that’s what makes their work so unique. “We are one consciousness, you know?” Says James. “Yes, we are individuals but we are one collective consciousness and we should work towards a better future for everybody.”
Enjoy the track “And You And You” by Smallpeople while viewing additional work of Expanded Eye below.
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