Ena Swansea: Fugitive Scenes, 2013
Text by Gregory Volk
54 pages, Softcover
Published by Locks Art Publications
Swansea's paintings in Fugitive Scenes are diverse, ranging in scale from small panels to a monumental 8-foot square canvas. Swansea moves fluidly between figurative subjects and landscape scenes while experimenting with unusual figure-ground relationships. In this painterly space, figures emerge from the dark graphite ground as if floating and a dynamic interchange between negative and positive space transpires in the landscapes. The charged atmosphere of the work stems from the artist's study of silhouetted forms and the effects of light on the surfaces of water, snow, and skin. From Madison Square Park, to Central Park and the Hudson River Piers, Swansea creates ephemeral and cinematic perspectives of seemingly mundane moments in her surroundings. As Volk writes, "What Swansea's paintings definitely communicate are heightened psychological (and emotional) states involving an admixture of agitation and repose, amazement and foreboding, beatific bliss and outright fear. Another important characteristic of Swansea's oil paintings is how they absorb non-painterly forms of representation, like movies, photographs, videos, and the cinema, even x-ray images. Swansea has had over a dozen solo exhibits since 2000; her most recent one-person exhibit was in Seoul, South Korea. Deichtorhallen Hamburg organized a two-person survey of Swansea and Robert Lucander in 2011. In 2008, her first museum survey was held at the Musee d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg. Swansea's first solo show at Locks Gallery was in 2002, and she has been included in the group exhibitions The Tipping Point, Water is Best, and New Light.