Exploring the precarity of the present, entangled between the tension of past and future, Schwaiger's work provides the viewer with a moment of pause; an opportunity to sit and comfortably ruminate within the slippage of time and shifts of power. The structure of the exhibition is designed to pull the viewer through works and between worlds, both major and minor in key. Within this transition, Schwaiger upholds a sense of visual mystery, balancing the benign and malign in shifts between the recognizable and the uncanny. Flourished with gestural marks and line, her work embraces the dynamic over the traditional composition. The series presents a gamut of tone and complexity. Images of high stakes political summits juxtapose quiet interiors, ethereal overgrowth, luxury in crisis, unpopulated museums and vacant famous artists' studios; navigating narratives of shifting power, powerlessness, isolation and environmental crisis. Each is an exercise in finding something parsable or exquisite within the devastating. Doublethink, for instance, depicts an artist's studio seemingly abandoned but rich in color, texture and content, exploring the space as a vehicle for cultural production, and cultural production as a modality for collectivity. Another work, In the Depths, places the viewer in a sunken archive of communal items. Depicting flatwares forgotten in the remains of the Titanic, the work embraces the transportive relationship between image, object and tone, exploring the serenity of post-disaster meditative settling; artifacts of liveness.
From the Dark Sea captures the mercurial beauty of the passing of time, our place within it, the moments we leave behind and those we will forever carry with us for better or for worse.
Elizabeth Schwaiger is a research-based artist living and working in Brooklyn. She received her MFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2011. In her decade-long exploration of power dynamics and the looming climate crises, Schwaiger uses a variegated symbolism of water, fracturing, dimensional overlay, gesture, and dialed levels of representational clarity to construct images suggestive of the interplay of the unseen forces that govern our world. She has exhibited in venues and biennials in the UK and the USA including in The Walker Gallery National Museum in Liverpool, The Macintosh Museum in Glasgow, The National Portrait Gallery in London, Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, Glasgow International, Embassy Gallery in Edinburgh, Blue Star Contemporary in San Antonio, and Co-Lab Projects and GrayDUCK Gallery in Austin. In 2010 Schwaiger was shortlisted for the John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize, Liverpool and won the BP Portrait's Young Artist Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London. In 2019 she was awarded a residency by The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation at the artist's studio estate on Captiva Island, Florida.
Press release courtesy Jane Lombard Gallery.