The Tenth of Always
2009 solo exhibition at Richard Gray Gallery. Chicago, Illinois

Press Release:

The Tenth of Always

April 3 – May 23, 2009
Artist’s reception: Friday, April 3, 6-8 pm

Richard Gray Gallery is pleased to announce The Tenth of Always, an exhibition of new work by Brooklyn-based artist Marc Swanson. Swanson’s work was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Miami Art Museum, where his work will be on view this spring. Swanson’s work has been exhibited at P.S.1/MOMA, New York; the Saatchi Gallery, London; the Hunter College Art Galleries, New York; and in late 008, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, where the artist had a solo exhibition (catalogue forthcoming). This is Marc Swanson’s first solo show in Chicago and his first exhibition with Richard Gray Gallery.

Drawing variously on the traditions of Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucas Samaras, Kenneth Anger, and Bruce Connor, Swanson’s work is an elaborate marriage of diverse materials and ideas. Swanson identifies chiefly as a sculptor, but he also makes films, photographs and complex installations. The Tenth of Always will consist of eleven new sculptures in the varied media for which the artist is known, including raw wood, gold chain, mirrors, appropriated photographs, light, fabric, naturally-shed animal antlers, rhinestones, and blown glass.

Swanson is perhaps best known for his extravagant and licentious rhinestone-encrusted animal head sculptures. Two of the most recent works from this ongoing series will be exhibited in The Tenth of Always, including a silver rhinestone bust of a big-horned sheep.

Despite its diversity, Swanson’s body of work is conceptually coherent; themes such as identity, nostalgia, mystical symbolism, 20th century gay subculture and the notion of the found object are all constants in his work. Likewise, Swanson frequently alters one material in order to mimic another.

Take, for example, his new "animal pelt” work, in which he has sewn together men’s cotton t-shirts and coated them in latex to evoke a drying animal hide. The pelt, along with several strands of delicate gold chain, was then strung laterally in a wooden box the artist constructed. The result is a hybrid of tromp l’oeil, curio cabinet and quiet melancholy.

Marc Swanson The Tenth of Always will be on view April 3 – May 23, 2009 at Richard Gray Gallery, located in the John Hancock Building.

For additional information or images, please contact Erin Fowler: (312) 642-8877 or