Richard Gray Gallery is pleased to present A Step Away from Then, an exhibition of new works by Marc Swanson. This will be the artist’s second solo show with the gallery; his first show was at Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago in 2009. An illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Ruba Katrib, curator of New York’s SculptureCenter, will accompany the exhibition. A reception for the artist will be held Thursday, October 18 from 6-8pm; the public is welcome to attend.
The exhibition title references Frank O’Hara’s 1956 poem “A Step Away from Them,” a story of walking through New York City that later translates as an elegy to friends that have passed. O’Hara’s passage of time and memories parallels several reoccurring themes in Swanson’s work that shift from mourning to celebration. Transformations abound in freestanding sculptures, wall-mounted boxes and mirrors as Swanson takes a new path while continuing to work with ideas of alchemy, icons, and talismans – concepts synonymous with his work over the past ten years. In her essay for the exhibition catalogue, Katrib asserts that Swanson’s new sculpture embodies a state of transition: “by rethinking approaches towards nostalgia and melancholy, they attempt a reconciliation of past, present and future. Loss is evident, as burial shrouds, tombstones, and ghosts still lurk, but they are luminous and activated.”
The largest work in the show Untitled (Plaster and Fringe, Asta Nielson) was created by wetting plaster-coated fabric and draping the cloth onto wood beams; the sculpture’s forms materialize from the artist’s physical and conceptual movements. Gesture is central in Swanson’s working method and each work in the exhibition is unique. “Movement is simultaneously interrupted and projected. Drooping, sagging, sweeping and gesturing, Swanson’s works suggest the human form, which disappears as quickly as it manifests,” states Katrib.
Marc Swanson attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2000 and received his MFA from Bard College in 2004. He has exhibited at MoMA PS1, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. He has recently been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; the New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut; and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, among others. Swanson’s collaborative work with Jack Ferver Two Alike was exhibited at Diverseworks Art Space/Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; the Kitchen, New York, and this summer at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. He lives and works in Brooklyn.