Swoon: Wholeness In Mind
May 28, 2021 - July 11, 2021
Turner Carroll Gallery Announces Opening Date for Swoon: Wholeness in Mind
MAY 28, 2021; Santa Fe, New Mexico – Turner Carroll Gallery will open a solo exhibition for Swoon from May 28th through July 11.
To swoon is to enter a state of rapture or ecstasy.
“Swoon is an agent for change powered by Caledonia Dance Curry, and her empathy for humanity is boundless and borderless. Consistently using her art practice to foster healing, even referring to it as a balm, she has built shelter, creative jobs, and opportunities for therapeutic recovery from trauma through her community-based compassion projects. Her approach is inclusive, authentic, and, working as a catalyst for positivity, the momentum she’s built is incomparable in the art world.” Juxtapoz magazine interview by Kristin Farr.
Caledonia Dance Curry, whose work appears under the name Swoon, is a Brooklyn-based artist known as the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art. As a fearless art student at Pratt Institute, Callie took to the streets of New York and illicitly pasted her achingly empathetic portraits to walls and buildings. She inspired an entire generation of female street artists.
Part of being a street artist has always been to remain in that street art realm—a sort of communal practice of art-making that shuns the world of art galleries and the commodification of art. Swoon’s street art was inherently temporary, made of paper and wheat paste, that would eventually decompose outside in the elements. The temporal nature of the work was what made it feel so incredibly human. Just like all of us, her artworks would have only a brief time on this earth.
Swoon always sought to use artmaking as a tool for personal and community healing. While her imagery contains bits of myth and fairytale, she is never afraid to dig into the darker aspects of her subjects. Swoon herself was a child of drug-addicted parents, and her portraits of them show a deep compassion that may help others understand that their family history does not have to determine their lives.
Swoon’s street art portraits have appeared throughout the world: on the Berlin Wall, on the wall separating Palestine from Israel, in Varanasi in India, Ukraine, China, Brazil, Italy, Indonesia, Haiti, and Mexico, among others locales.
In realizing taking her work beyond the sides of buildings could engage the communities where she worked, she expanded her street art practice to create sculptures, boats, collages, paintings, living structures, human-scale music boxes, and installations for museum and gallery spaces as well as participatory social projects. In 2009 she gathered friends to make a boat that floated through the Grand Canal during the Venice Biennale. Later, she constructed earthquake-resistant community art structures in Haiti through her Konbit Shelter initiative and donated her house in Braddock, Pennsylvania to become a shelter for women transitioning from addiction. She created a foundation (Heliotrope Foundation) to further her social engagement projects. In 2021, Swoon collaborated with PBS American Portrait, turning a box truck into a diorama that drove around New York City, encouraging people to speak about the legacy they inherit and what they choose to leave behind.
Today, Callie’s work can be found on the sides of buildings worldwide and is given both permanent and transient homes in the top museums of the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Tate Modern, the Brooklyn Museum, the State Russian Museum, and the São Paulo Museum of Art. Most recently, she has begun using film animation to explore the boundaries of visual storytelling.
Swoon’s iconography centers around symbols of home and relationships. She says, “The house is really the container for everything that happens in the piece, and, in a way, represents a container for the psyche…homes are…deeply rooted. I find myself returning to them over and over again, sometimes as temples or sheltering spaces, sometimes as anarchic symbols of self-created freedom, sometimes as symbols which hold stories, divulge secrets and teach me things.”
A specific cast of characters who’ve left an impression on Swoon recurs throughout her street art and permanent works. Swoon says, “Thalassa is a primordial incarnation of the sea. Almost pre-goddess. For me, Thalassa is that moment when I stand before the ocean and every cell of my body calls out ‘Mother. You are me, and I am you, only you are infinitely vaster.”
“Neenee, a girl I met in Braddock years ago when we were first working on the church, worked alongside us for a summer, and she became the biggest part of a portrait that represents lots of folks in Braddock, embodying the story of our work there.” Edline is a young girl Swoon met in Haiti, working on an art project making one of the shadow puppets she holds.
The exhibition at Turner Carroll Gallery marks Swoon’s debut appearance in Santa Fe, and she’ll likely make her presence regionally known. The Turner Carroll exhibition features not only the block print on paper images, but also mixed media grand scale works on wood, and a new body of drawings that will be seen for the first time.
About Turner Carroll:
Turner Carroll Gallery + Art Advisors exhibits international contemporary art by established and emerging museum-track artists. Founded in 1991 by Tonya Turner Carroll and Michael Carroll, the gallery embodies extensive knowledge of the history of art and vast experience in all aspects of the art world. Turner Carroll authors artist monographs, serves on boards of art museums, foundations, and public arts boards, manages artist estates, curates museum, and art space exhibitions internationally, and advises private and corporate art collections. Turner Carroll Gallery artists are featured in top private and museum collections worldwide.