Sebastian Mary Tay



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Chromatic Solstice #3; Photography/ Powder, pigment, sawdust, ice, fog, lights; 2016

Chromatic Solstice #11; Photography/ Powder, pigment, sawdust, ice, fog, lights; 2016

Chromatic Solstice #14; Photography/ Powder, pigment, sawdust, ice, fog, lights; 2016

Chromatic Solstice; Installation/ Powder, pigment, sawdust, light bulb; 2016

Chromatic Solstice; Installation/ Powder, pigment, sawdust; 2016

Phenomenon: Dark Room II; Installation/ Performance/ Powder, pigment, sawdust, fog, lights; 2016


Statement for Chromatic Solstice:

‘Chromatic Solstice’ is a body of photographs of handcrafted landscapes consisting of sawdust, powder, pigment, fog, and light. Originally from Singapore, I spent six years living in Scotland. The tropical island located at the equator has two weathers – sunshine and rain, unlike Scotland’s four seasons in a day. The light in Singapore is of consistent quantity throughout the year, and is different from Scotland’s dramatic long winter darkness and perpetually bright summer skies. As light takes a longer time to reach Scotland, it is stretched, scattered, and diffused, thus differing from Singapore’s intense and concentrated quality. I wondered then, how can I make use of the vocabulary of light?

The construction and photographing process of each image took place over a period of three to seven days, with important considerations placed in the lighting and composition of each landscape structure, in aim of uniting the vocabulary of materials into the spatial singularity of the photographic image: the landscapes provide a theatrical space where the colours manifest and engage in dialectics amongst each other. The colours, light, and composed landscapes consequently assemble themselves as a spatial entity in the embodiment of the fog. The fabrications invite the viewers to embark on a journey of the imaginative, and consequently participate in the position of an admiring, contemplative being.

This body of work were essentially inspired by the theatrical light of Scotland’s skies, observed through the repetitive equinoxes and solstices cycles.


Sebastian is an interdisciplinary artist who graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a MRes in Creative Practices and a BA(Hons) Fine Art (Photography).

In the last five years, Sebastian has participated in various exhibitions in several countries, inclusive of the UK, Singapore, and China. Some of his recent exhibitions include The Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries 16, The 118th Society of Scottish Artists Annual Exhibition, FUTUREPROOF I and II, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Photomakers of NAFA, Glasgow Aye Open House Festival. Sebastian’s works showed at The Royal Scottish Academy on six different occasions, including the yearly The Royal Scottish Academy Open Exhibitions and The Society of Scottish Artists Annual Exhibitions. In 2013, a work from the series ‘An Inquiry into the Marine Condition’ received The Royal Scottish Academy Latimer Award. In 2015, his works were selected for The Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries 16, as well as received The Royal Glasgow Institute New Graduate Prize.

In recent years, Sebastian has been invited by various organisations and institutions for talks, lectures, as well as tutorials, and these include City of Glasgow College, Hillhead Library (Glasgow), The Royal Scottish Academy, Mount Florida Studios (Glasgow), The University of the West of Scotland, and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Sebastian’s research interests inquire into the (in)commensurability between East and West philosophical concepts. His postgraduate research focused upon the relations between ideas of Daoism and Chinese landscape ink painting, Heideggerian and Daoist metaphysics, in an attempt to examine the applicability of Heideggerian ontology upon the poetics of Chinese landscape ink painting.

Sebastian is based in Singapore. He is currently working towards exhibitions in Singapore and the UK, engaging in public talks and lectures, and is making new works.


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