Studio M

Amy Swartelé: Supernormal

Teeth and Scissors, Oil and mixed media on PVC board, 2020 Stand on My Neck, Oil and mixed media on PVC board,2017

                               

Amy Swartelé: Supernormal will be exhibited in the Massillon Museum’s Studio M from October 16 through December 1, 2021. A podcast interview with the artist that will debut on Tuesday, November 9, at noon EST can be accessed on the Museum’s website.

Amy Swartelé lived in five countries before the age of 18, a nomadic experience that evolved into her love of travel and the strange. She learned early that what was considered normal or valuable in one place, was strange or devalued in another.

To date her work has been featured in 16 solo exhibitions and in more than 100 group exhibitions internationally. Her work has been exhibited in Italy, Belgium, France, Spain, England, Germany, Austria, the United States, India and Canada.

Swartelé received her BA with departmental honors from Wesleyan University and her MFA in painting from SUNY at Buffalo. She has lectured about her work throughout the USA, and in Spain, France, Belgium, and India. She has taught at multiple universities across five US states and is currently Professor of Art, Head of Painting and Assistant Chair of Art at the State University of New York at Potsdam. She splits her time in Montreal and upstate New York.

Supernormal is a selection from the artist’s Carnival-Sideshow series. The paintings are mixed media (graphite, charcoal, inks, acrylics, and oils ) on a variety of surfaces (foam/plastic board, PVC board, canvas, on wood). The works range in size from 15” wide to 64” wide. Some are in traditional rectilinear format, others are freeform abstract shapes.

Swartelé envisions group of characters—imaginary friends and alter egos—as carnival sideshow performers. “Where people break out of the little boxes of what is considered normal, is where I find people being most human and genuine, and that is more fabulous and interesting than the polite masks we so often wear to fit what we perceive to be society's expectations. I think we are all ‘other,' I think we are all supernormal, and I think we should embrace and celebrate that fact,” Swartelé says. The carnival, she explains, was a place where all members of society, no matter how different from each other, could mingle and interact, and traditional norms and expectations were put aside for a time.

Finding connections and dialogue and emphasizing the value of difference and discourse seems paramount to the artist. Her paintings playfully merge a range of styles and media because that process, for her, reflects the range of human possibilities. She sees how very different things can fit together without taboos. This family of sideshow characters melds species, genders, the animate, and inanimate.

In addition to viewing the Swartele exhibition, visitors can see the Stark County Artists Exhibition in the Aultman Health Foundation Gallery; Artwork by Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Massillon; Flu and Football and the Paul Brown and Massillon Tiger timeline in the Paul Brown Museum; Eterovich Contemporaries in the Flex Gallery; the Immel Circus; and exhibitions in the Local History Gallery, Albert E. Hise Fine and Decorative Arts Gallery, and the Photography Gallery.

Studio M is a dedicated space made available by the Museum’s expansion project to exhibit the work of contemporary artists. The gallery hosts eight exhibitions each year.

The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark, as well as marketing support from Visit Canton.

Exhibitions can be seen during regular MassMu hours, Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.  The Museum extends its hours, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., on the last Saturday of each month to participate in Massillon’s Last Saturday. The Museum will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

MassMu is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. A visit is always free. Free parking is available on adjacent streets and in nearby city lots. For more information, call 330-833-4061.
 

 
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