Artist Carolyn Swiszcz has a knack for capturing on canvas the quirks of a given place and people, and for teasing revealing details from the drabbest edifices of contemporary American life.

Using an ingenious amalgam of painting and printmaking techniques, she draws her subject matter from the unremarkable structures that populate every town: a superette, an aging strip mall, a mom & pop motel on the outskirts of town, an unlovely corporate headquarters. Swiszcz’s distinctively streamlined, vivid candy-colored renderings of these everyday locales prompt the viewer to see the telling particulars hiding in plain sight among the humble, mass-produced trappings of the urban landscape.
— Susannah Schouweiler, writing for MinnPost

Artist Statement

Art-making a way to settle into gray areas where I can explore conflicting feelings about situations and places. It’s also a source of satisfaction and joy when I’m able to assemble pleasing compositions. But what I'm most motivated by is the power it gives me to imbue day-to-day life with magic and purpose. I'm fairly certain the need to transform my surroundings would be present no matter where I lived, and is a condition common to most artists. Painting a picture of a building is my way to anoint it as well as a way to believe I have the powers of consecration. My subject and I seem to become part of a large and important story, making me feel less vulnerable to being forgotten. 

I’m a painter but I’ve always relied on printmaking techniques to enliven my work. For the past year I’ve been experimenting with watercolor monotypes. In this process watercolor and aqua crayons are applied to thin sheets of plastic that have been coated with a release agent. The plastic can be cut and layered, essentially making a collage which transfers on to dampened paper when sent through the press. The moment of reveal is like Christmas morning; it's a treat that I keep in my mind as I’m making a composition, trying to devise new ways the material can offer surprises.

I also make videos and, lately, little books. These were interests from my teen and early adult years that went somewhat dormant until I became a parent, rekindled in time spent making up songs and reading books with my daughter. These projects fulfill a desire to work in a narrative mode where I can be more forthright and goofy. In the face of political and environmental crises they’ve become especially important to me as a way to connect joyfully or to speak out.

 

Bio

Born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Carolyn Swiszcz moved to Minnesota to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she earned a BFA in 1994. In the late 90’s she spent three winters in Miami Beach on a fellowship from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Time spent among Miami Beach's faded apartment buildings sparked an interest in buildings and public spaces. Carolyn's work has been exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Drawing Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery in New York, Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston, and The Corcoran Gallery of Art. She is a recipient of the Jerome, McKnight, Bush, and Minnesota State Arts Board artist fellowships. She lives in West Saint Paul, MN with her husband (photographer Wilson Webb) and their daughter. 

 

     
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