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Sean Cummins

Sean Cummins

Senior Lecturer

Nottingham School of Art & Design

Staff Group(s)
Fine Art


Sean is Principal Lecturer in Fine Art and Course Leader for BA Hons Fine Art.

Career overview

Before working at NTU, Sean was a co-Director of the Gasworks gallery and a visiting lecturer at several art schools across the UK.

Preview Sean Cummin's work

Research areas

Sean has two two lines of research interest :

  1. An investigation into the history of Nuclear Technology 1945 to 1963 through painting: an archaeology of nuclear control room display systems using painting as a methodology to reveal a tacit technological aesthetic.
  2. Compare and contrast the parallel modernisms of painting and nuclear technology to explore the clandestine utopian visions within both in particular to contrast linear narratives of time and progress in art and science referencing Philip K. Dick and other science fiction.

Sean makes paintings from photographic images that explore ideas of 'Future Nostalgia' from the early 1960's. Using images, of the then cutting edge technology, such as a Nuclear Reactor control room from 1963, Sean performs pre-set operations to make paintings that reference the utopian aspirations of the day.
Deploying strategies of flatness through grids, Sean digs and explores these historical images as an archaeological process.

In Philip K. Dick’s novel 'Counter-clock world' (1967) the earth has entered the 'Hobart Phase–an enormous sidereal shift in which time moves backwards'. Sean likes to think of his practice within this fictional world and how it relates to a kind of reverse modernist practice that exposes the idealism of that time to our present dystopian gaze. Sean is engaged by both the promise and collapse of utopian modernism. There is a parallel between the aesthetics used in the control room display systems and in the painterly devices of modernism.

In terms of materials, Sean uses acrylic and brush on canvas. Sean's next exhibitions will be in the Bonington Gallery
and at Enclave, Deptford London both in March 2014.

External activity

Recent Exhibitions



  • 2019  DARK CONTROL, The Meter Gallery at Manchester Contemporary art fair.
  • 2017  FULLY AWAKE, House for an Artist, Glasgow
  • 2017  NINE PAINTERS, Syson Gallery, Nottingham
  • 2017  ‘w: double u’ TAC, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • 2016  PARAVENT, Harley Gallery, Notts
  • 2015  STUDIO, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont, USA
  • 2014  NO FUN II, The Attic, Nottingham
  • 2014 NO FUN, Enclave, Deptford, London2014 NO FUN, Enclave, London (Group Exhibition)

Sponsors and collaborators

  • Contemporary Art Society
  • English Heritage
  • Cell Projects