my tree stays tree

Ian Swanson

Saturday, January 7-Sunday, February 5, 2017

‘With my fantasy alone,’ brags the importunate head,

Arrogant among rook-tongued spaces,

Sheep greens, finned falls, ‘I shall compose a crisis

To stun sky black out, drive gibbering mad

Trout, cock, ram,

That bulk so calm

On my jealous stare,

Self-sufficient as they are.’

But no hocus-pocus of green angels

Damasks with dazzle the threadbare eye;

‘My trouble, doctor, is: I see a tree,

And that damn scrupulous tree won't practice wiles

To beguile sight:

E.g., by cant of light

Concoct a Daphne;

My tree stays tree.*

*excerpt from Sylvia Plath's "on the difficulty of conjuring up a dryad"

In 1956, Israel, the United Kingdom and France invaded the Western part of the Suez Canal in attempt to oust Egyptian control from the region. Opening nearly a century prior, the canal had proven to be an important site, a link between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean; propelling trade between east and west, and becoming strategic at times of war. Shortly after opening, Egypt sold nearly its entire share of the canal in response to its ever-growing debt crisis. In the years to follow, the UK invaded Egypt and took control over the region. 

The invasion was a failure. While the three nations made significant advances, Egypt maintained a stronghold over the shipping lanes of the canal. This aggression came to be seen as Great Britain’s last gasp of colonialism, and as the three nations recoiled, the event turned into a push back against globalization. The region subsequently became highly divided as nationalism took hold, and has remained so ever since. Plath's poem has been interpreted as an allegory for this conflict, while reflecting on the state of the world at the time and her place within it as an artist. Sixty years later the world has received little reprieve from the underlying issues examined in the poem, and central concerns of authority, border control, control of resources, nationalism, and globalization endure. 

Ian Swanson (b.1983 Detroit, MI) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received his BFA from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI; and his MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. Recent solo shows include cynics milk at David Shelton Gallery, Houston, TX; our shallow psychic death at Simone DeSousa Gallery, Detroit, MI; feels like feels at ashes/ashes, Los Angeles, CA; and studios pretty much an office rn at Welcome Screen, London, UK. Recent two person and group exhibitions include Ignorance is Rich at 67, New York, NY; Dychtopia with New Scenario; Vital Shift in Central Observer, at BOSI, New York, NY; F R I E N D S at Evelyn Yard, London, UK; Ego Drift at WAKE, Detroit, MI; Or Or and at Free Paarking, St. Louis, MO, and EDENunlimited.tbc/tbc with Frankfurt am Main, Berlin.

Ian Swanson   My Tree Stays Tree,  2016 Acrylic, gesso on canvas

Ian Swanson
My Tree Stays Tree, 2016
Acrylic, gesso on canvas

Ian Swanson   Untitled (ATM withdrawal),  2016 Acrylic on denim

Ian Swanson
Untitled (ATM withdrawal), 2016
Acrylic on denim

Ian Swanson   Untitled (ATM explosive),  2016 Acrylic on denim over linen

Ian Swanson
Untitled (ATM explosive), 2016
Acrylic on denim over linen

Ian Swanson   Younger Dryad Swamp Cooler,  2016 PVC, foam, PCL plastic, water cooler, London Plane branch, epoxy enamel, 20 sided die, polished fate, synthetic hair, dry ice

Ian Swanson
Younger Dryad Swamp Cooler, 2016
PVC, foam, PCL plastic, water cooler, London Plane branch, epoxy enamel, 20 sided die, polished fate, synthetic hair, dry ice

Ian Swanson   Untitled (ATM skimmer),  2016 Acrylic, gesso on linen

Ian Swanson
Untitled (ATM skimmer), 2016
Acrylic, gesso on linen

Ian Swanson   Birds, flies,  2016 Plastic, epoxy clay, carbon, USB flash drive, USB speaker, paracord, 9:48 audio loop

Ian Swanson
Birds, flies, 2016
Plastic, epoxy clay, carbon, USB flash drive, USB speaker, paracord, 9:48 audio loop

Ian Swanson   Empathy Creeps,  2016 Acrylic, gesso, rubber, enamel on polyester in mahogany artists frame

Ian Swanson
Empathy Creeps, 2016
Acrylic, gesso, rubber, enamel on polyester in mahogany artists frame

Ian Swanson   Turning Back,  2014 Acrylic, graphite and gesso on canvas

Ian Swanson
Turning Back, 2014
Acrylic, graphite and gesso on canvas