Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Seven Deadlies

Karen Swenholt, Gossip Tree (Envy),
2008, terra cotta and found wood

A few days ago, Karen Swenholt spoke to an overflow audience about her show, The Seven Deadlies, currently on exhibition in the Dadian Gallery. In Karen's visionary world, trees and people share juicy confidences, the earth is an angry woman with storm clouds gathering overhead, Adam creates himself without need of the divine hand or breath, and the crucified Lamb of God really is a lamb.

Karen Swenholt, Lamb of God (Redemption),
2002, terra cotta and steel
These elegant, attenuated figures seem to exist in some parallel universe, where nothing is quite what it seems to be and everything quivers on the edge of revelation. Each sculpture is simultaneously alluring and repugnant, the artist's sure hand grounding each pose in an knowing command of both anatomy and gravity, while defying both for expressive effect. Here, there are no easy answers, and grace, far from being cheap, is infinitely costly.

In her artist's talk, Karen said that we should not condemn those who commit the sins that she depicts, but rather see them, as Christ does, with compassion. In this show, the ugliness of sin is redeemed, transformed by the artist's hand and heart into moments of revelation.

To see more photographs of The Seven Deadlies in the Dadian Gallery's Flickr gallery, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment