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2019 D.JPG

Philip Swan

Significant Soil

October 15 - November 8, 2020

Amos Eno Gallery is pleased to present Significant Soil, a solo exhibition of new works by artist Philip Swan. The exhibit will run at Amos Eno Gallery from October 15 - November 8, 2020, with an opening reception slated for Friday, October 16, 2020. 


In addition to the in-person opening reception on Friday, October 16th from 6:30-8 PM, there will be a virtual interview and tour with the artist on that date from 6 PM EST via the Amos Eno Zoom account, linked here. The artist will be interviewed by the Amos Eno gallery director and discuss specific works on view the opening night of the exhibition. Once this portion of the evening concludes, the gallery will host an opening reception to visitors to the physical space, masked and socially distanced. 


The exhibition takes its title from the T.S. Eliot poem “The Dry Salvages,” in which Eliot ruminates on those individuals who are undefeated in life because, in the process of continuing to strive, they accumulate a life of “significant soil.” Like the buildup of soil in nature echoed in Eliot’s poetic metaphor, Swan’s work addresses the mental accretion of imagery permeating urban settings that lend a sense of place and meaning which is internally mapped in abstract ways. Most of the work in the show was created during the CoVid-19 pandemic, and reflects the struggle required to create art in this context. The continuing resilience needed to build a life of significant soil in the face of an existential crisis on a global scale lies embedded in the work on display. This show consists of thirteen oil paintings on canvas. The paintings are self-contained, but connected through color and compositional similarity. In the process of creating work, Swan conceives of compositional and aesthetic roadblocks and then improvises his way to a solution while avoiding resolving problems concretely, thus allowing previous stray pathways which eluded resolution to remain visible. The resulting pentimento  gives the work its complex composition. 


Swan has explored geometric abstraction in various mediums over the past two decades, and his recent work is highly architectonic in feel. This series incorporates both the palette and geology of the natural world and the vertical geometries of the urban environment. Significant Soil marks a new trajectory that combines formalist geometric abstraction with a more gestural mark-making than has been seen in previous work. Like other contemporary abstractionists, Swan is in dialogue with the rich history of abstract art in the United States inspired by the interaction of the artist and landscape.

Philip Swan is a self-taught painter who has been showing at Amos Eno since 2018. He has a BA and MSI from the University of Michigan and an MA from the College of William and Mary. He is originally from Michigan and has lived in New York since 1997. His work has been featured in many group shows in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey.

Above image: 2019 D (2020) Philip Swan, 24 x 30"

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