Troy Swangstu: Made in Iowa
Show opening & reception 2/10, 4 to 6 p.m. (5 p.m. ART TALK), Show closing 3/9
“Ram with blue/green”
Oil and oil enamel on fabric
Someone asked me to explain what I see when I look at works by Swangstu. As an observer, I am captured by the sheer energy in which the work is created.
In October I visited Kansas City. Dean Kugler, gallery artist and friend recommended that I stop into the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. That was the first time I saw his series of bulls and I was blown away.
When fate brought Troy to visited the gallery Beréskin, a few months back, I remembered his work and immediately asked if he would be willing to allow us to showcase his latest series. It was not until then that I learned he was from the area and graduated from my alma mater, Bettendorf High School. I knew it was meant for him to exhibit here.
He is tied to the animals, represented in this series, as he is vested in the livestock he cares for on the farm he manages back near KC. His knowledge and interaction with the animals provided him with a first hand understanding of their sheer presence. As he expresses this in his artwork – you feel the use of colors, line, shapes, and electricity (or tension) in which the strokes are applied to the canvas. I am not sure if he is expressing animals as symbolism in the works – perhaps, it could be tied to a deeper meaning. In a historical or literary view the ram (pictured below) can represent a conquest or preparation and new beginnings. He has returned back to his roots and is focused on an entirely new body of work.
Maybe this is his new voice on canvas – no doubt others will find it a fresh breadth of visual work.
– Pat Bereskin
Troy was born and raised in the Quad Cities, where he graduated from Bettendorf in 93.
“Currently I am working here in the Quad Cities….a homecoming so to speak to connect with my roots and attempt to focus on new paintings.”
Troy studied at the Kansas City Art Institute with a major in painting and worked at various museums and galleries and exhibited locally in Kansas City as a student.
After a brief stint away from Kansas City he moved back to KC where he worked and ran a gallery out of his studio.
“10 years ago I moved rural just south of Kansas City to Paola Ks. Where I found a love for working with livestock in whats known as regenerative farming(grazing) practices. While Continuing to exhibit in Kansas City, as well as exhibits in various locations such as Wichita Ks., Tulsa, and New York. And also exhibiting locally in Paola Ks”
At the end of the day Troy simply allows all aspects of his person to merge through his fingers onto the canvas – sharing with us his spirit and passion for art and nature…
Studying his subject is priority over photo representation. Process and progress are more important to Troy than a preconceived plan or desired outcome. Most works he would categorize as unfinished and part of ongoing research. Transparent layers of spirited, reactive brushstrokes dance among moments of academic forms and theories leaving behind expressionist pages full of learning outcomes and opportunities. He gives his brush permission to create connections between personal journey, fine art formalities and the tangible object. Troy’s confidence with the materials reflect a tension between formally inspired color play and reactive “without a care” gestures regarding the topic at hand. In many cases the object is used as a symbol, others simply a portrait of a regarded companion.
March 9 – April 28 Radim Schreiber, Photography: The Magical Glow of Fireflies
April 28 – June 23 Mary Kline Misol
June 23 – July 28th John Preston, Landscapes (Pastel & Acrylic)
Calling all artists – The 2nd Annual Quad City Paint Out , July 21st, All Day
Where: City of Bettendorf Riverfront
Evening reception and BBQ, live music!
July 28th – Sept. 1 Debora Stewart, Pastel Abrtraction
Sept. 1 – October 16th EARTH WIND & FIRE (Dean Kugler, Dawn Metallo, Bill Wohlford, Bonnie Greibner, Karen Brinson)
Artist Reception September 7th, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Oct – Dec. Rural America – Artists of Beréskin Gallery
Holiday Open House, December 7th, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.