Sarah Swift

Swift was born and raised in Exeter, Rhode Island, and moved to Brooklyn, NY to attend the Pratt Institute of Art and Design. Graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Painting, she exhibited work in shows throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, and won the Best of Show award at the 2016 Conception Events TriBeCa Arts Exhibition. 

Swift now resides in Rhode Island, working as the current Gallery Director and artist member of Hera Gallery. She is also an artist at the Carolina Fiber and Fiction Center, where she has been studying textiles over the past 2 years.

 

“I was raised by two passionately curious marine biologists, living on the rural coast of Rhode Island. I was mentally, physically, and spiritually fascinated with the organic world, as it became the primary influence surrounding my early years of learning. I remember towing big nets to catch sea plankton that we would later watch and draw for hours with the help of monstrous microscopes. I vividly recall the joy I found in simple structures like cracked ice, dead flower pods, and veins in leaves I would peel apart to examine. Back then it was just “play”, but that obsession has developed into a studio practiced rooted in exploration, experimentation, and “life cycles” of repurposed material.

The idea of creating a sustainably conscious studio practice entered my mind in art school when supplies were expensive, and I had reusable material EVERYWHERE. I started favoring the processes of finding fabric or wood or plastic and giving it all a new purpose. As political powers have shifted in the last year, the subjects of climate change, and the global plastic epidemic, came to the forefront of my mind. I decided to put more effort into using material that was not only around me, but that was actually in my way, that I intended to dispose of; garbage. I begin hording plastic bags to be woven into tapestries and into loom pieces. I shredded old ripped clothing and unraveled old sweaters. All material I receive goes through a process, whether it is painted, cut, collaged, or shredded; it is always somehow pieced back together.

My process systematically mimics the ongoing cycle of build-up and breakdown found in natural phenomena. On the most basic level I’m investigating life and death-and perhaps rebirth. On a more complex level, I think of changes of season, habits and patterns of daily living, relationships, even the economy and stock market. I love this idea that everything in a constant state of flux, ebbing and flowing and reacting to everything around it.  I believe this work is my contribution to the ever-changing cycle. I constantly question whether ontological loneliness is the cause for most art, as we all constantly grasp at identity, and concrete reasons for why things ARE. I humor myself that this whole process is my attempt to “control” laws of nature within my life, which are (of course) so intrinsically uncontrollable.”