From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program
Long Afternoon featured new work by Celeste Nelms and Carolyn Swiszcz, two artists who share an uncommon affection for things well past their prime. In their exhibition of photographs and mixed-media paintings, they both paid homage to things created and treasured and then later cast off forgotten.
Celeste Nelms has historically figured into her photographs; initially, in sets she designed and constructed and later, in ambiguous landscapes. She has mastered the challenge of getting her camera to capture what she sets before it, with just seven seconds to get into the picture herself.
For Long Afternoon, she orchestrated a series of photographs that depicted her in various natural settings, interacting with an object once valued by somebody else. In exploring the dynamic between humans and their material realm, she used her intuition when searching through thrift stores, giveaways, and yard sales for items of interest or mystery. She also asked people she knew to donate objects they once had cherished but no longer do. She interviewed her subjects about these relationships and recorded their particular recollections. Some of her photographs are set within âtalking framesâ that play audio snippets of these interviews when activated.
Like Nelms, Swiszcz frees objects from neglect, giving viewers the opportunity to reconsider what she excerpted from the street. Known for her paintings of homely architecture, Swiszcz breaks the spell of looking-right-at-something-and-not-seeing-it in ironic collaged paintings of run-down buildings, strip malls, fast-food restaurants, and the like. Swiszczâs phone booths, ice machines, even the ubiquitous logos that brand fast-food containers, are served up in an affectionate, and at times anthropomorphic, smorgasbord of color and pattern.
For Long Afternoon, Swiszcz reexamined New Bedford, Massachusetts, her hometown and the place she tried to ignore while she was growing up. Over several months during 2003, Swiszcz painted the storefronts and miscellaneous architecture of New Bedfordâs mainstreet, Acushnet Avenue. She featured a panoramic sequence of these images in Long Afternoon, works that ranged from snapshot-sized paintings of window displays to a huge picture of a strip-mall parking lot with a splendid flock of seagulls descending on trash from a Dunkinâ Donuts.
Works of Art
- Opening Reception: Thursday, May 22, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. in the Minnesota Artists Gallery.
- Artist-led public tour: Thursday, May 29, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. in the Minnesota Artists Gallery.
- Criticsâ Trialogue: Thursday, July 10, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. in the Minnesota Artists Gallery. Featuring painter and art critic David Lefkowitz.