July 1, 2015 - January 18, 2016
Philadelphia artist Paul Swenbeck creates ceramic sculpture inspired by his fascination with ancient geological relics. His forms are part reality, fantasy, and part science fiction. Swenbeck’s work references his interest in fossils and the primordial plants and animals whose existence is evidenced by these unearthed traces of their remains. Influenced by exotic creatures or as Swenbeck has said, “ancient monsters” of the land and sea, his works are hybrids with characteristics of both plants and animals. The sculptures are reminiscent of alien life forms that are simultaneously whimsical and mysterious, prehistoric yet futuristic. Swenbeck’s composition of objects is like a cabinet of curiosities where its contents have yet to be defined.
Swenbeck has described his working method as improvisational and intuitive as he starts to build the forms using armature wire and clay. He has said, “Part of the joy of being a ceramic artist is having the alchemic experience of experimenting with compounds that lead to magical results as one combines clay and glazes with the heat of the kiln.” He embraces the “spirit of chance and loss of control when working with clay as the atmosphere and temperature of the kiln create vastly different effects on the clay surface.” And it is Swenbeck’s willingness to allow the materials to express themselves that continues to inspire his creative quest.
Paul Swenbeck’s work is represented by Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia.