Mark Szwabo
  • Male
  • Florissant, MO
  • United States
  • 63033
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Mark Szwabo (°1960, Fort Leonard Wood, United States) produces paintings, drawings, mixed media artworks and conceptual artworks.

By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, Szwabo creates work through labor-intensive processes which can be seen explicitly as a personal exorcism ritual. They are inspired by a nineteenth-century tradition of works, in which an ideal of ‘Fulfilled Absence’ was seen as the pinnacle.

My paintings never show the complete structure. This results in fact, that the artist can easily imagine his own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. By emphasizing aesthetics, he tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.

My work establishes a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver. These works focus on concrete questions that determine our existence. By referencing romanticism, grandiloquence black humor and symbolism, he absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation.

My work is characterized by the use of everyday objects in an atmosphere of middle-class mentality in which recognition plays an important role. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, he often creates work using creative game tactics, but these are never permissive. Play is a serious matter: during the game, different rules apply than in everyday life and even everyday objects undergo transubstantiation.

My collected, altered works are being confronted as aesthetically resilient, thematically interrelated material for memory and projection. The possible seems true and the truth exists, but it has many faces, as Hanna Arendt cites from Franz Kafka. By merging several seemingly incompatible worlds into a new universe, he uses a visual vocabulary that addresses many different social and political issues.

My work incorporates time as well as space – a fictional and experiential universe that only emerges bit by bit.
His works are often classified as part of the new Romantic Movement mixed with impressionism because of the desire for the local in the unfolding globalized world. However, this reference is not intentional, as this kind of art is part of the collective memory. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of middle class values, he wants to amplify the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.

His works sometimes bear strong political references but only occasionally by nature. The possibility or the dream of the annulment of a (historically or socially) fixed identity is a constant focal point. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, he investigates the dynamics of landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what landscape means to us. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.

My work can sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence depending on mood and circumstance. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges vividly. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, he seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.

My work appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. Mark Szwabo currently lives and works in St Louis.

As far as influences on my art, in the past they have been Picasso, Baselitz, Monet, Dali, and Van Gogh. At the present time I feel drawn to Ralph Steadman, Chris Marrs, Bacon, Jame Jeans, and Basquiat to name a few.
If you're an artist/art student, don't forget to add a brief artist's statement and photos of three of your art works to either your "comment wall" or "text box." This is your basic St. Louis Art Directory information. Later you may add images, videos, post a blog, and much more.
see me on facebook at mark szwabo, artist from St Louis

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Posted on June 26, 2017 at 7:52am

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