Trish Shwart, the jumpy narrative of contemporary life

Stories are one of the ways we make sense of the world. Human beings are storytellers; we recount narratives based on the personal and the public. We tell fictional stories and factual stories about our lives and experiences. Stories communicate cultural and emotional truths.

Over the last several years I have been looking for ways that a viewer can “find?”their own story when looking at my work. All artists want the viewer to experience the work so this isn’t uncommon. But I believe that narrative provides the viewer an easier entry into the work and therefore enables a different kind of seeing or experience. And I wanted that narrative to reflect the complex political and social reality of our western lives.

My earliest attempt at narrative combined traditional characters (heroine, monster, wise person) in unfamiliar combinations and asked the viewer to “tell me a story”. After seeing people interact with the work in a gallery setting I realized that the work needed to engender more complex stories that resonated on multiple levels.

My current work uses banal imagery that is ripe with potential meaning. An image can provide a sense of momentary recognition, a feeling of being in something with others. Combining disparate and fragmented seemingly banal images calls attention to the “ordinary as a place of potentiality”. Images come together not through meanings but rather in the thoughts and feelings that they make possible. These images are not what they represent but rather act as “connections, reflecting the way one thing leads to another, the layering of experience and the jumpy narrative of contemporary life.”
Trish Shwart
Feb 2, 2017

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