If you’re living in New York you may have noticed the quiet shifting of scenery on the walls of the city. By the hand of artist Swoon, a new cast of imagery extends into brickwork and steel, transforming the regular into dreamscape. Swoon’s work might qualify for a type of expressionism called magic realism, where the weight of reality is lifted through manipulation of light, line and color. But it’s not all manipulation. Swoon works within the contexts of space and utilizes the physical qualities of her materials – the rough surface of stone becomes the weary skin of a face; a plant hanging in a window becomes tendrils of hair from which a woman emerges. And her installations are as transient as the people who walk by them – constructed sometimes out of cut paper or painted directly on the surface. But Swoon’s work, though beautiful, comments on the reactionary nature of people as defined by the conditions of their environment. While people might be projected on the walls of New York, Swoon reacted to the earthquake in Haiti by rebuilding houses for people who had lost them. After all, art and context can’t live independently.
If you do happen to be in New York right now, be sure to stop by the Christina Ray Gallery on Friday, June 18 at 7 p.m. for a discussion on rebuilding Haiti led by Swoon. All discussions are open to questions and are free to the public.