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Henry Swanson, It’s Bigger in Person Field Projects, Kiln It


It’s Bigger in Person new works by Henry Swanson Field Projects, Kiln It curated by Jacob Rhodes, works by Kate Bancroft Rachel Frank Amanda Nedham Lisa Schilling May 17 - June 16, 2019

Massey Klein Gallery 124 Forsyth Street New York, NY 10002


Henry Swanson It’s Bigger in Person In his solo exhibition of new oil paintings, artist Henry Swanson mines eulogistic aspects of American exceptionalism through the lens of Western oil painting. Exploring the subject matter of late 19th- and early 20th-century painting, It’s Bigger in Person takes a comedic look at Western culture’s largerthan-life ego in portraiture, landscape, and vanitas and questions the validity of figurative painting. The jokes have not aged well. Born in Dallas, Texas, Swanson’s first experiences with fine art were highly conservative and subject to guidelines of stereotypical “Americana”. Conversations about what his drawings “should be” at a young age have maintained and shaped the humor and skepticism currently depicted within his paintings. The artist’s paintings dismissively respond to the childhood question, “What do you like to make pictures of?”. His realistically rendered horses, mountaintops, and portraits alongside seemingly nervous and minimally drawn doodles in spray paint, serve as both a sense of escapism to a childhood of arbitrary subject matter and an appreciation for decisively pared-down paintings of his contemporaries. But don’t be fooled - Swanson’s works are not without irony. Calling attention to the dated sense of masculine Americana, with its obvious posturing, the artist imbues his paintings with a sense of direct energy, while also capturing their blind search for validation. It’s Bigger in Person plays the role of its harshest critic… but smiles the entire time. Henry Swanson is a fine artist examining polarities and performative aspects affecting the art world today. Swanson’s bisected oil on canvas paintings illustrate divisions in process, style, economic interest, time period, and cultural disparity. Considering the mythos of personal inspiration, culture as branding, and performative trendsetting in the fabrication of artwork, Swanson’s work examines the identity of the artist and questions art’s role as a function of the crafter’s precious care, or the contextual aid to a social construct. Swanson maintains studios in Brooklyn, NY and Dallas, TX. He received his BFA from RISD. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.


Henry Swanson Untitled (‘Only one, because more than that would be redundant’), 2019 Oil on canvas 72 x 48 inches


Henry Swanson Untitled (‘The Wreck of Hope’), 2019 Oil on canvas 72 x 48 inches


Henry Swanson Untitled (‘OMW2G2BSYP’), 2018 Oil on canvas 72 x 84 inches


Henry Swanson Henry Swanson, Untitled (‘I learned every swear word I know at Reunion Arena with my dad in 1999’), 2019 Oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches


Kiln It: Curated by Jacob Rhodes Featuring: Kate Bancroft, Rachel Frank, Amanda Nedham & Lisa Schilling Massey Klein Gallery and Field Projects are pleased to present Kiln It. The four artists in Kiln It employ a primordial material that is attached to the origin of human creativity: clay, and its transformation through fire; ceramics. Rachel Frank’s rhyton vessels are sculptures based on ancient Eurasian offering vessels.These ceramic sculptures imagine how ancient ritual forms may play roles in new ceremonies relating to climate change and environmental issues. In Kate Bancroft’s vessels, self-portrait and narrative, in the tradition of ancient Greek amphoras are used to lay splay an internal pink void; a yawning chasm of thirsty surrealism. Amanda Nedham deploys clay to exploit the democratic materials of cigarettes and soap. This metaphor of stasis is playfully held together in a peacekeeper’s depiction of wildlife: Nubian giraffe, Savanna hare, Asiatic black bear, etc., to create a plein air sculpture. Lisa Schilling’s work begins with a material exploration in the kiln. The material dictates the final shape dependent on its ability to pass: raw clay with an underglaze rind as marbled meats; test tiles as shark teeth. The limits of this pass-ability is pushed further in Schilling’s Projector Series, where she combines the slaughter house with the grindhouse. Film projectors that appear to be cobbled out of sausage links and/or human organs are at once bodily, consumption for the body, and machines of projection. All these primordial representations must survive the fires of the Kiln: the documents decay and crystalize into new shapes, new materials, and new meanings outside of the artist’s hand. Field Projects is an artist-run project space and online venue dedicated to emerging and mid-career artists. Centered on long-term curatorial projects, Field Projects presents monthly exhibitions at their Chelsea location in addition to participating in pop-up exhibitions in and around New York as well art fairs around the world.


This catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition It’s Bigger in Person Henry Swason & Field Projects Kiln It May 17 - June 16, 2019 Massey Klein Gallery 124 Forsyth Street New York, NY 10002 www.masseyklein.com


Š2018 Massey Klein Gallery All rights reserved. No part of this publication shall be reprinted or reproduced in any form without written permission from Massey Klein Gallery or the artists. Installation Photos: JP Rodriguez


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Henry Swanson, It’s Bigger in Person | Field Projects, Kiln It  

Massey Klein Gallery is pleased to announce, It’s Bigger in Person, a solo exhibition of oil on canvas paintings by Henry Swanson. The exhi...

Henry Swanson, It’s Bigger in Person | Field Projects, Kiln It  

Massey Klein Gallery is pleased to announce, It’s Bigger in Person, a solo exhibition of oil on canvas paintings by Henry Swanson. The exhi...