CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is pleased to present an exclusive online preview of Geraldine Swayne’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, whilst we suspend physical programming during the COVID-19 crisis. All work is available to acquire.
Swayne is well known for her intimate portrait and figure paintings in enamel on copper or aluminium. Her subjects engage in everyday activities – listening to music; sewing; putting on lipstick; drinking. Sometimes they are clothed, and often they are unclothed – sitting, lying, having sex, or being spanked. Engaging in everyday activities.
In this exhibition, recalling earlier work, Swayne effortlessly scales up to combine small paintings with larger paintings. Her subjects are derived from various sources, including 18th century ceramics; anonymous vintage photographs; a cache of photographs found in a serial killer’s lock up; and her own iPhone pictures. The identity of the subject, therefore, is often unimportant, or at least less important than the feeling conveyed. It is the emotional and psychological register to which Swayne responds, and then mediates. As she has previously stated:
“I paint atmospheres. The insinuated, unspoken and unspeakable evidence of the human personality. The bodies and faces of the subjects I choose reflect an interior mystery, and I try to amplify this riddle in the rendition of the subject.”
Technically, Swayne’s style is uniquely fluid and transfers expertly from miniature through to monumental. And her approach to her practice as a whole is instinctive. Underlying her work is an ongoing exploration of humanity, subtly played by presenting us with, at face value, the familiar. But Swayne loads the unfamiliar into the familiar; and extraordinary into the ordinary, as if conveying messages or annunciations from elsewhere that are channelled from the macro, via the micro, and vice versa.
Geraldine Swayne graduated from Newcastle University in 1989. She won the Northern Arts Travel Award in 1989, going to New Orleans to make paintings and super-8 films; she moved to France where she made portraits and large outdoor paintings for the Marie of St Jean de Fos, Languedoc; became a pioneer digital special-effects designer, working for over a decade at CFC/Framestore in London and Los Angeles; has made numerous experimental films including the world’s first super-8 to Imax film ‘East End’, narrated by Miriam Margolyes with music by Nick Cave. After leaving the film industry in 2004 she worked as an assistant for Jake and Dinos Chapman rebuilding 'Hell' at White Cube. Swayne became a member of seminal ‘krautrock’ group ‘Faust’ with whom she has made various studio albums and tours. Swayne has had solo exhibitions including Aeroplastics, Brussels; Fine Art Society, London; and Fred, London. She has been in group exhibitions including Jerwood, Hastings; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Jerwood Space, London; David Risley, Copenhagen; Magasin3 Museum, Stockholm; and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. She won the Dupree Family Award for a female artist at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2018.
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