FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
19 NOVEMBER – 22 DECEMBER 2011
Reception Saturday 19 November 6:00 to 8:00 PM
MARC FOXX is pleased to present our second solo exhibition with Australian-born and Los Angeles-based artist Ricky Swallow.
Swallow, in this new body of work, addresses the everyday and commonplace object: a cup, a clock, a pipe, a pot, a book or a reading lamp, altering them into small commemorations in bronze. Their scale, color and relationship to one another becomes an economy that weaves throughout the installation. Swallow began his current body of work by transcribing standard cardboard tubes into basic, yet intrinsically personal forms, honoring the very nature of the objects as realized and described through his alterations. By using this pre-existing cardboard material as a negotiator, Swallow finds an inventive and economical way of arriving at these forms and challenging a more modernist approach to sculpture. There is a surrealistic play within these works partly in the translation of these more ephemeral forms from their original material to a solidified, more permanent bronze.
Swallow’s practice has always addressed materiality and transformation, as seen with his previous woodcarvings and their processes of reduction. This new area of Swallow’s practice involves addition, improvisation and construction. The subtle evidence of the cardboard and tape used to construct the original model is quietly at play on the tactile surfaces of the works. The artist’s careful and specific use of color in the patinas references utilitarianism, modernism and the rudimentary design palettes of Native American Art. The color of the patinas seem effortless, but are, in fact, a very intricate process, which is in contrast to a classical, more traditional approach to treating bronze. References can also be seen in this collection from Mid-Century modernist art, design, architecture and ceramics.
Variations on the form of the French curve appear throughout the show as an adaptive and playful motif, which echoes the nature of the cardboard tubing material from which each work was created. The use of the top hat, in “Blowing Hats”, 2011 and “Hat Clock/Open Study”, 2011 has been adapted to signify both playful dynamism as well as formal contemplation.
Many of these works are studies of the basic nature of objects which are combined with the artist’s personal narratives and references including variations of the form of the French curve, the use of the top hat in “Blowing Hats” 2011 and the clock in “Clock with Primary Parts”, 2011 which hangs on a wall but doesn’t tell time, acting as an invisible indicator of that which we cannot control, yet measures our days. “Alarm Clock Study” has intimate meaning in it’s conception- our gaze reads 1-9-7-4 clockwise, which is the year of Swallow’s birth and “Seated Man”, 2011 becomes a key emotional figure, where object can be seen as a possible self-portrait.
Shown on classical plinths for the exhibitions, these works find gravity in the environment off the pedestal, incorporating themselves into their domestic surroundings. The narratives that these new works create ask for quiet reflection on what might be considered the small pleasures of life, as they are made in proximity to our daily rituals in the moments where object-hood is more than just function or form, but rather an intimate relationship and exchange with ourselves.
Swallow’s recent exhibitions include Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur, at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, Ricky Swallow, Watercolours at the University of Queensland Art Museum Brisbane Australia. He was the exhibited artist for the Australian Pavilion in the 2005 Venice Biennale, and has had solo exhibitions the Kunsthalle Vienna project space and PS1/MoMA, New York. In 2012, The Huntington Art Collection at the Huntington Gardens will exhibit Ricky Swallow with Lesley Vance, co-curated by Catherine Hess and Christopher Bedford.