Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

May 24, 2011 at 12:12pm

CLAYTON ON ART: New works by CJ Swanson

Recommend Blog Post
Total Recommendations (0)

WISDOM FROM THE VOLCANO'S VISUAL ARTS CRITIC >>>

I often complain when abstract painters throw in a bit of recognizable subject matter in order to please a public that is still - after more than a hundred years of abstract art - not quite comfortable with paintings that don't have things they can recognize in them. Like they just can't get it if they can't see a tree or a face or a juicy red apple. Often when artists throw in a little something to please those people it's an obvious sell-out (unless the artist is Pablo Picasso, who never in his life painted a fully abstract painting).

CJ Swanson, late of Tacoma and now living in Seattle, is an abstract artist whose latest work combines abstraction and landscape in ways that are unique and intriguing. Some of her latest works (online at http://cjswansonart.com) are disturbingly blatant in the way they cater to the folks that just have to be able to recognize something. Is she making a point of that, playing with it? Is she putting us on? Or is she selling out? It's hard to tell. And I think I like some of them, although they're going to take some getting used to.

The paintings in question are a series of landscapes in which buildings and trees are flat silhouettes in the foreground and the sky is a patterned color field, and another series of works on paper with abstract patterns imposed on a single tree. I really don't like the tree paintings. They seem overly decorative and sweet and the multi-colored, linear patterns are jumbled in an uncomfortable way. The ones with the patterned sky are much more interesting. Two in particular that I like are "Due West" and "Facing Southwest."

In "Due West" the sky is a field of vertical stripes in red, yellow, green and blue. In the foreground are trees and houses painted in dull flat colors. Of all the paintings in this series this one is the most harmonious in the relationship between the two contrasting parts of the picture. The colors are all within a narrow value range and the paint application is the same throughout, which creates a nice balance between harmony and contrast throughout.

"Facing Southwest" is similar, but the houses and trees are one solid shape in flat black and the sky is a field of clouds in overlapping, transparent red-orange, yellow and purple. Another similar one that I like a lot is "Northwest View," which is just like "Facing Southwest" but the clouds are bubbles or balloons.

These paintings represent a new direction for Swanson that may turn out to be pretty exciting, but for now I'm withholding judgment.

At the same time that Swanson added these new paintings to her website she also added some new fully abstract works. Some of the best of these are paintings of interlocked and overlapping chain links and ovals. To see these click on the link to works on paper.

Tacomans may remember Swanson as the former co-owner - along with husband David N. Goldberg - of the Art on Center gallery in T-town. She moved to Seattle but still shows her work regularly in Tacoma. Both Swanson and Goldberg are prolific artists whose work continues to evolve.

Filed under: Arts, Tacoma,
comments powered by Disqus

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

Recent Comments

Walkie Talkies said:

Thanks for posting! But I want say that Walkie Talkies are really required while organizing fun...

about COMMENT OF THE DAY: "low brow’s" identity revealed?

Humayun Kabir said:

Really nice album. I have already purchased Vedder's Album. Listening to the song of this album,...

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

AndrewPehrson said:

Your post contains very beneficial content. Kindly keep sharing such post.

about Vote for Tacoman Larry Huffines on HGTV!

Shimul Kabir said:

Vedder's album is really nice. I have heard attentively

about Eddie Vedder’s "Ukulele Songs" available today - and I don’t hold a candle to that shit

marble exporters in India said:

amazing information for getting the new ideas thanks for sharing a post

about 5 Things To Do Today: Art Chantry, DIY home improvement, "A Shot In The Dark" ...

Archives

2024
January, February, March, April, May, June
2023
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2022
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2021
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2020
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2019
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2018
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2017
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2016
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2015
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2014
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2013
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2012
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2011
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2010
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2009
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2008
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2007
January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2006
March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December