Tony Swain: Drowned Dust, Sudden Word

19.04.12 – 08.07.12

An exhibition of new work by Irish-born artist Tony Swain, who trained at Glasgow School of Art and still lives and works in Glasgow. Swain, who was one of the artists representing Scotland in the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, is known for paintings depicting complex private worlds painted over newspaper pages, the newspaper providing both the physical ground and the conceptual starting point of each painting.

Swain paints landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes and interiors, frequented and constructed by mountains, sand dunes, meadows, trees, rocks, lighthouses, power stations, landmarks both natural and man-made, boats, bridges, buildings, houses, furniture and domestic objects. His imagery is often on a vast scale, encompassing huge vistas, but also collapses into intimacy. The marks he makes most usually organise themselves into representation, but sometimes remain as passages of painterly abstraction. A lot of the work generates the expectation of narrative, seeming to lead somewhere both conceptually and formally, yet it eschews this expectation, working instead on and with the picture plane. Fragments of the newspaper survive, transformed and transfigured by their inclusion in Swain’s painted world.

This exhibition consisted entirely of new work, made specifically for The Fruitmarket Gallery.

Download the Exhibition Guide

Download the Bulletin


Listen to Katharine Stout’s talk on Tony Swain: ‘Dreamtime Painting’


Listen to Brandon Taylor’s talk: ‘Collage and Painting: A Modern Partnership’



Images: Ruth Clark


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