Ena Swansea

BOMB 53 Fall 1995
Issue 53 053  Fall 1995

Discover MFA Programs in Art and Writing

Swansea 01

Ena Swansea, Tree Shadows, 1995, oil on linen, 64 x 96 inches.

One stands in front of these paintings and faces a construction which is subjective and made-up. Ena Swansea has revised the priorities of an abstract painter and has decided to paint what is not there. Her paintings’ outsized scale makes the shifting focus and oscillating edges of the forms assert themselves all the more. The idea seems aggressively unnatural, shadows of shadows, yet the forms appear to come from nature. Shapes that at first seem botanical and benign become wayward, out of place.

Here the subordination of content to form passes its earlier destination of minimalism. The content implied exists solely as a provocative silhouette, undressing itself behind the viewer, who, in the process, becomes the occupant of Plato’s cave.

Swansea 02

Ena Swansea, Detail of Arrangement, 1995, oil on canvas, 75 x 102 inches.

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Lawler 05
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Originally published in

BOMB 53, Fall 1995

Featuring interviews with Jo Baer, June Jordan, Kelly Reichardt, Abel Ferrara, Catherine Murphy, Mac Wellman, Lucie Brock-Broido, Wayne Wang, and Roy Hargrove.

Read the issue
Issue 53 053  Fall 1995