opening reception: Thurs. Oct. 27, 6-8pm
"Thin places," the Celts call this space, Both seen and unseen, Where the door between the world,
And the next is cracked open for a moment, And the light is not all on the other side.
-- excerpt from "Thin Places," by Sharlande Sledge
MIYAKO YOSHINAGA art prospects is pleased to present A Thin Place, an exhibition of new works by Carolyn Swiszcz. This is the artist's fourth solo presentation at the gallery. The exhibition is on view from October 27 through November 30, 2011, with an opening reception on Thursday, October 27, from 6-8pm. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
There is Celtic saying, "Heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places that distance is even smaller." In this new body of work, Carolyn Swiszcz considers these places where, according to Sylvia Maddox, co-author of the book Praying with the Celtic Saints, "the veil that separates heaven and earth is lifted and one is able to receive a glimpse of the glory of God."
In paintings that the artist says "depict what I have felt to be 'thin places' encountered on recent travels," various public places like the Whitney Museum of Art in New York or the Shidoni Sculpture Garden in Santa Fe are rendered in layered patchworks of gritty, muted tones offset by a few Day-Glo bursts, revealing a mulitfaceted approach to painting that incorporates drawing and printmaking techniques.
Though her sites of interest are popular tourist attractions, Swiszcz is more concerned with the creeping anxiety such locations engender when devoid of people or close to it. In "Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library," for example, the few visitors are dwarfed by the massive open interior of the monumental building. In "Mall, Santa Fe," a desolate mall food court is populated by a disarray of chairs and tables, while some of the horses of an unused carousel are represented as mysteriously blank outlines, as if they have leapt out of the scene. These works exude a liminal, apperceptive state, a feeling heightened by the overall flatness of the picture plane, upon which washed-out pigments bleed and coalesce in an unsettled, nebulous haze.
Recalling the alienation of the deserted streets of Hopper and De Chirico, or even the insignificance of the Lilliputian figures swallowed up by Corot's hulking landscapes, Swiszcz sardonically illustrates the almost cartoon-like impotence of contemporary culture to save us from the unyielding indifference of both nature and architecture. For Swiszcz, "thin places" are not necessarily filled with glorious experiences. "Admittedly, what passes for a thin place in my world is thick, clunky and melancholy," she says. "When the veil gets lifted, I am more often presented with a feeling like a pleasant kind of dread rather than something divine."
Carolyn Swiszcz lives and works in West St. Paul, Minnesota. Her work is currently on display as part of Binocular City, a two-person show with artist Karen Brummund at the Johnson Gallery at Bethel University, St. Paul, MN. She has had solo exhibitions at Wendy Cooper Gallery, Chicago, IL; Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND; the Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis, MN; and Shonandai MY Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. Her work has also been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN; the Drawing Center, New York, NY; Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY; and Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, MA. She is the recipient of several awards, including fellowships from the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. Her work has been featured in Art in America, The Boston Globe, New American Paintings and NY Arts and is represented in the Microsoft Art Collection and at the Minnesota Historical Society. She received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.