In her sparkly new series, Silvering, artist and musician Geraldine Swayne uses silver and gold grounds and aluminium and copper surfaces to reflect her interest in the surface quality and material value of her work. In her own words: "they almost look good enough to eat".
Suggestive and mysterious, her paintings are populated by people on the verge of action, like film stills. The atmosphere is thick with tension and heightened emotion yet the narrative is obscured, like entering a room where a television has been left paused. Swayne's scenes are often awkward, haunting, sexy, bizarre, dark, or amusing – sometimes all at once. Her oblique narrative references allow the viewer to project their own story on to the works.
The source material for Swayne’s imagery is diverse, from personal photographs to pornographic magazines. And the immediacy of her work is evident in both her large scale canvases, with sweeping loose, acrylic brushwork, and her intimate miniature portraits, painted with enamel on small copper or aluminium panels.
An artist, musician and filmmaker, Geraldine Swayne is noted for navigating the complex relationships between painting, music and film. She moved to France in 1991 painting portraits and large outdoor paintings for the Marie of St Jean de Fos. Since 1999, she has made numerous experimental films including the world’s first super-8 to Imax film East End, produced by Cathy Shaw, and narrated by Miriam Margolyes with music by Nick Cave.
After leaving the film industry in 2004 she worked as an assistant for Jake and Dinos Chapman rebuilding 'Hell'. Although better known as a painter she joined experimental rock group …bender in 2005 and in the following year, the seminal 'Krautrock' group 'Faust' with whom she has recorded two albums and toured widely, making musical improvisations and live paintings at venues such as the Wrexner Centre for the Arts in Ohio, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art and CalArts.
As a painter she has been exhibited in numerous group and solo shows at including the Barbican, Calvert 22, L-13 and Fred, London. In 2010 she was a finalist in the John Moores painting prize, Walker Gallery, Liverpool. In 2014 she was awarded a live/work residency at Acme Fire-station in East London, where she now lives and paints.
You can see her latest series, Silvering, in a new exhibition at The Fine Art Society in London, opening tomorrow, Tuesday 28 March, and running until 19 April 2017.
Main image: Self-portrait with Two Gossipy Birds, 2016 - © Geraldine Swayne