Often working with materials that could be purchased from the local hardware store—wire, mirrors, magnets, periscopes, speakers and glass, Julianne Swartz creates sculptures, installations and photographs. As the artist has explained: “I am interested in the intersection of the physical and non-physical, and making what is not physical somehow palpable.” The non-physical in Swartz’s work is as varied as the physical facts of the universe—light, memory, sound, kinetics, the passing of time and a sense of place.
Her work encourages the viewer to reconsider our relationship with spaces. Our surroundings seem real, yet a simple construction of lens and ambient light can project another version of the world. Both versions are a result of the true functioning of the natural world. What we experience as real, Swartz’s work informs us, is only one of a myriad of possible variations and configurations. Swartz’s wondrous contraptions conjure unexpected and magical effects from the mundane elements of the physical world and suggest that even these details are miraculous.
Swartz received a MFA from Bard College and BA in photography and creative writing from the University of Arizona, Tucson. She has shown her work nationally with major installations and exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, MoMA PS1, 2004 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art, New Museum, MASS MoCA, deCordova Museum & Sculpture Park, and ICA, Virginia Commonwealth University. She has received numerous awards, including Anonymous Was A Women Award (2015), American Academy of Arts And Letters Award (2010) and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award (2008).