Lynda Harwood-Swenson at Shift Gallery through March 2, 2019


Sticks and Stones

Peggy Murphy

Land of Nowhere is all sky, water and earth – elemental nature at its purest.

In her exhibition of prints this month at Shift Gallery, Lynda Harwood-Swenson hints at an idealize landscape where nature predominates.

Harwood-Swenson made this work while on a Clowes fellowship at Vermont Studio Center. Finding herself without etching facilities, she used a variety of interesting techniques and materials to create her work. Besides traditional artist material she employed the very elemental; salt, stone, and sun.

The images are grouped by subject and technique. One grouping, titled Poesis, seems to suggest a guiding constellation or a pattern for construction. The word Poesis is from the Greek “to make”. This seemed a particularly apt title to be among Harwood-Swenson’s pieces, for the making is evident and tied intrinsically to all the individual pieces. In the ghostly Sticks and Stones, stones were used as stencil to suggest the subtle variation of the human figure. The installation Ocean Ocean features frothy surf courtesy of salt. The cyanotypes use the sun to develop the blue color that suggests a world of architecture and construction.

In her artist statement Harwood-Swenson suggests her landscapes are of a utopian place and that they ultimately ask the question “where do we go from here”? The images speak plainly and forcefully about making and remaking, the essential and the elemental; and perhaps give us answers about moving forward.