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My work sits somewhere between painting and sculpture and I realize it has always been about bringing back the body. The American Abstract Expressionist Painters ability to create whole emotional universes using gesture, movement and color is my foundation. It wasn’t until I moved to America from Australia where I grew up, and saw Ana Mendieta’s Earth and Body Works, and Judy Pfaff's indoor environments that I felt permission to be myself.  Color and texture can drive a work into space, and if the body lacks a space to inhabit, it can be created. A space to inhabit is a metaphor for me. My family history of perpetual immigration is a universal reality. When fleeing, the body gets in the way. After generations of fleeing, it is possible if not beneficial to erase the body.


I use translucent fabric as a surface to support the paint marks, as well as to protect, reveal, or disguise what’s inside. I begin work by laying the fabric on the floor on top of bath mats. By brushing or pouring paint onto the fabric, the surface tension causes the patterns beneath to be printed onto the fabric. Different paint mediums mixed with the paint cause a depth of layers. The geometric patterns under the fabric remind me of industry and technology and the overflowing free pigments remind me of water. When dry, the fabric is hung away from the walls onto a tree branch. The join between the branches and the fabric is deliberately tenuous, with only pins, so that the sensation of installing and uninstalling becomes part of the work.  The organized printed marks, combined with the overflow of stained paint, addresses the struggle and complexity of being human and living in the world. I like working in small parts that can be brought together to create different works. One singular fragment has a different content than multiple pieces finding unity. I am excited by the ambiguous beginning and end of work. This way multiple ever changing contexts can be superimposed with multiple stories. In the work ‘Barely a Body’, I have haphazardly attached shaped cast paper. Their rounded contours want to have definition as containers that could hold something, but instead seem to hang off the works. The castings within the paper come from molds of plants I found on the Australian beach. Through color, the rigid imprints of the bath mats become inseparable from the chaotic natural forms.


Based in NYC, Sylvia Schwartz works with fabric, paper, plaster, resin and photography. Schwartz has worked extensively at Dieu Donne Papermill; casting primarily with molds made directly from findings on the beach. With nature as a starting point, Schwartz’s work transforms something that is no longer living into the present moment. Schwartz received a degree in fine art from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia, and later studied sculpture at Columbia University. Her work has been seen in group exhibitions in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, including BWAC, Nurture Art, ODETTA, Lesley Heller Gallery and the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey.  Her work was featured in the book Attachments by Anne Marie Dannenberg.
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