May 18, 2014
Santa Monica Art Events. The Form of Color by Robert Swain (45 Years of Research!!)
Yareah Magazine, 05/18/2014


Santa Monica Art Events. The Form of Color by Robert Swain (45 Years of Research!!)
Yareah Magazine, 05/18/2014

Robert Swain: The Form of Color is an immersive, site-specific exhibition grounded by the artist’s forty-five years of research into the phenomenology of color. The Form of Color is Swain’s first solo museum exhibition in California, and is comprised of interlocking, modular paintings created specifically for the Museum and the quality of light in Santa Monica. Each composition is made up of individual twelve by twelve inch squares of color, and measures up to seventy feet in length. The result is an all-encompassing visual and physical encounter-a journey into the sublime.

Robert Swain has devoted a lifetime to the study of color, and inspired generations of color painters in the process. As a young artist in the 1960s, he was influenced by the chromatic and compositional strategies of Pierre Bonnard, Georges Seurat, and Paul Cezanne. Over the next four decades, Swain combined a modernist’s medium specificity with postmodern investments in both systems of knowledge and art as experience. The work on view at the Santa Monica Museum of Art is a massive network of pure paint, a comprehensive survey of the color system the artist began developing in 1973 with a research grant from the City University of New York. Swain’s color system is an index of 4,896 isolated chromatic units, along with accompanying records of their evocative properties. The multi-directional grids in The Form of Color, plotted according to value and saturation, are designed to intensify collisions and complements among hues and induce specific visceral responses. In Swain’s system, such responses take place when an individual pigment’s radiant energy — a factor of its wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum — is transferred to the viewer.

“Color,” says Swain, “is a form of energy that stimulates our perceptual processes and is instrumental in conveying emotions.” Viewers of Swain’s work experience color as an active perceptual process, an event that happens in real time. Like multi-colored test patterns used to calibrate projectors and printers, Swain’s paintings reset and rejuvenate the human mind, eye, and body. Considered head-on and at various angles, the squares dissolve into each other, betray their hard-edged boundaries, and curve away from the walls. They adjust to viewers’ locations and the time of day, alternately projecting and absorbing the natural light that floods the museum. Robert Swain: The Form of Color transcends the precise system and decades of study informing it, providing a uniquely serene and spiritual experience for each individual viewer.

In conjunction with the opening reception for The Form of Color, the Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Color, Light, and Consciousness: A Conversation with Robert Swain, Executive Director Elsa Longhauser, and Curator Jeffrey Uslip from 4 to 5pm on Saturday, May 17.

Robert Swain: The Form of Color is guest curated by Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis’ Chief Curator Jeffrey Uslip.

Robert Swain was born in 1940 in Austin, Texas and lives and works in New York. He completed his education at the American University in Washington, D.C. in 1964. Since moving to New York City in 1965 he has exhibited regularly and participated in over ninety solo and group shows. He has been awarded ten major commissions and architectural installations and is the recipient of many prestigious awards and grants, including the grant in painting from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the College Art Association. A total of 284 of his works can be found in major private and public collections such as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Denver Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Everson Art Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Milwaukee Art Center, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Jeffrey Uslip was born in 1977 and lives and works in New York City. At SMMoA, he most recently organized Michael Queenland: Rudy’s Ramp of Remainders, Agnes Denes: Body Prints, Philosophical Drawings, and Map Projections, 1969 – 1978, Samira Yamin: We Will Not Fail, Joyce Pensato: I KILLED KENNY, Xylor Jane: Sea Legs, and Keltie Ferris: Doomsday Boogie. Uslip has also organized exhibitions for PS1/MoMA, New York; Artists Space, New York; Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, California State University, Los Angeles; and LA>
This exhibition has been made possible by the Pasadena Art Alliance, SMMoA’s Ambassador Circle, and Brenda R. Potter. Support has also been provided by the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Santa Monica Museum of Art
2525 Michigan Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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