This is the third in a series of works Seawright has produced in the USA, where the landscape of the American city is de-constructed and the thin veneer of positivism and idealism is peeled back to expose an alternative vision of the North American city. The List, uncovers a contested landscape that continues his interest in city spaces and their relationship to invisible fractures in society. Using mapping and GIS data Seawright plots the spaces where former sex offenders are permitted to live on release. These geographic limitations (defined variously by County and State) create unintended clusters of ex-offenders, often in small rural North American towns, where those on the list are hidden in plain sight.
The photographs from across America’s rust belt, reveal neglected neighborhoods where derelict vehicles are parked on patchy lawns, and rusted wire fences surround recently repossessed homes or concealed rear yards. Typically people are absent, yet marks of their presence are everywhere – scratched on walls, obscured by closed curtains or glimpsed through motel windows and dense trees. Claustrophobic vistas reveal frayed clapboard homes on the far side of blackened waste ground; this is the landscape of the convicted and dispossessed. Theirs is a liminal world, where legal restrictions define and prohibit them from establishing a permanent residence within a prescribed distance from a lengthy list of public buildings.
The exhibited works move between the type of prosaic landscape familiar in Seawright’s work to black and white details of plants, fences and water damaged walls from the gardens of ex-convicts. These photographic gestures extend a narrative, where everything is dysfunctional and the visceral nature of the subject is invisible.