Arts University Plymouth has unveiled a new public sculpture in the grounds of its city-centre campus created by Paul Hillon, a multidisciplinary artist and Technical Demonstrator at the arts university.
Situated between Arts University Plymouth, Charles Cross Police Station and Drake Circus, the sculpture, named ‘Presence in Absence’, is a large-scale hollow cubic steel structure that captures the light that cuts through it and is over two metres tall.
Creator Paul Hillon is a visual artist who lives and works in Plymouth. A studio holder at KARST Gallery, Paul studied Fine Art at BA (Hons) and MA levels at Arts University Plymouth, before joining the Arts University as a Technical Demonstrator within the Materials Lab. His work has featured in exhibitions across the south west.
Physical properties and the space around it
Presence in Absence was created based on Paul’s investigations into the relationship between a sculptural object’s physical properties and the space around it, questioning whether drawing attention to the contrast between the tangible and the immaterial alters our awareness of the space that we occupy.
Paul said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity by Arts University Plymouth to show this work outside of the gallery context. As a public sculpture Presence in Absence offers an opportunity for new conversations about relative scale, the use of light and the space that both occupies and surrounds the work.”
Paul Hillon’s creative focus is on the design and production of sculptural forms, exploring the interaction between viewer, spatial dimensions and fortified structures. Scale and connectivity are key considerations in his work, with current research exploring principles and new media technologies that unify sculpture with space to produce immersive works that provide potential for increased accessibility and audience participation.
By artists and designers, for artists and designers
Professor Stephen Felmingham, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of Arts University Plymouth, said: “Creative education at Arts University Plymouth is by artists and designers, for artists and designers, and nowhere is that more evident than in Paul Hillon’s extraordinary work at the front of the campus. It is a real example of how staff here produce research and practice at a high level to feed back into teaching students. We are pleased and proud to be able to show his sculpture. Paul’s work will reach out into our community to generate thought and reflection in a busy pedestrian area, and is certain to be a positive addition to the city environment.”
Recently Paul Hillon’s research interests have expanded to include experimenting with spatial augmented reality to merge the virtual with the real, immersive environments and interaction that incorporates digital technology, alongside examining generative art by using creative coding as media for visual artists.
In his work with students at Arts University Plymouth, Paul specialises in supporting studies in contemporary Fine Art Practices, utilising a mix of practical and digital applications that encourage student experimentation with a range of materials, methods and processes to produce creative outcomes.
top image: Paul with his sculpture Presence in Absence
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