Ricky Swallow


Catalogue of works published to accompany the solo exhibition “New Work”, by artist Ricky Swallow at Maccarone, New York, March 3 – April 22, 2017.

Swallow’s sculptural output transmutes utilitarian materials into permanent amalgamated forms via methodology of display and alchemical transformation. Leather, rope, cardboard, and wood rendered into bronze-casted sculpture capture Swallow’s initial studio gestures (splitting, attaching, hanging, torquing, twisting, bracing, soaking) and dictate how his materials are set in form.

Swallow’s objects are born of two locations. In the foundry his original materials, burned out during the casting process, leave one-off frozen genesis movements in bronze. The works are later patinated in silver or black both calling attention to the antecedent material while beguiling its lineage. These resultant sculptural forms eschew Modernist aesthetics as well as typographic form, but suggest a default abstraction inherent to the kinetic processes that began in Swallow’s studio.

Dimpled leather, looped rope, and precarious assemblages become formal studies of levity, grace and precision. Several works stand and coil up from plinths seemingly driven by their own inert tension and humble intimacy. Larger industrial corner works, integrating spheres, suggest a structural punctuation to the architecture. With choreographic prowess, several works conform to and dictate the corners and passages of the exhibition itself, producing an operational agency all their own, appearing as if needed for support but more possessing of a confrontational spatial relationship. “New Work” expands Swallow’s translation of an object, form, and material into an alternative preserved kinetic state, continuing an inquiry with both humor and criticality on the arbitrary hierarchies that exist within the stories of objects.

Ricky Swallow (b. 1974, Australia) has been the subject of solo and two-person exhibitions at venues worldwide, including The Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino, California, with Lesley Vance, (2011); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2007); Kunsthalle Vienna (2007); Yokohama Museum of Art (2007); MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York (2006); Australian Pavilion, 2005 Venice Biennale; University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2001); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2001). Group exhibitions include Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Quiz: Sur une idee de Robert Stadler, Ensemble Poirel–Nancy, Paris (2014); David Roberts Collection, 10 Ways To Look At The Past, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); Sculptors Drawing, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2010); Red Eye: Los Angeles Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2007). Swallow lives and works in Los Angeles.

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Ricky Swallow - New Work (2017)
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