The Longest Distance
Malin Abrahamsson, Irja Bodén, & Philip Swan
February 6 - March 1, 2020
Amos Eno Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming opening of The Longest Distance, the first exhibition to bring together works by Malin Abrahamsson, Irja Bodén, and Philip Swan. The show features ceramics, mixed-media sculptures, and paintings on canvas. The opening reception will be on Thursday, February 6, from 6-8 PM at 56 Bogart Street in Brooklyn, NY.
The title is an oblique reference to the passing of time and its inevitable influence on the process of creativity. A character in Tennessee Williams’ 1944 play The Glass Menagerie states, “I didn't go to the moon, I went much further--for time is the longest distance between places.” Although it is not visible in the works, time is ever-present through an awareness of its scarcity and that there can be no distance traversed without its expense. The pseudo-functional mixed media sculptures, conceptual ceramics, and layered paintings reveal how process is deep-rooted in time.
Abrahamsson and Bodén both use ceramics in their work and are intimately familiar with relinquishing control to time in the processes of drying, firing, and glazing, often repeatedly, before a piece looks right. Time is equally important to Swan who sometimes spends months on an individual painting. Adding layer by layer of paint, each new coat becomes a guide for the next as he works his way to a solution. In this way, time itself becomes a vital conduit: a transmitter of ideas, clues, and consequences.
Bodén, who in the past made functional ceramics, is frequently asked how long it takes to make one cup, mug or bowl. Her response: “something like 25 years.” Today she makes highly textured sculptures that are stacks of skillfully wheel-thrown ceramics that turn the idea of functional ware to precariously balance on its head. Similarly, Swan’s recent works explore the possibilities of masking and layering with increased levels of complexity. Over time, his paintings incorporate more layers and techniques: a slow process of incremental and purposeful painterly considerations that are palpable to the viewer in each work.
Abrahamsson mixes hand-built ceramic objects with synthetic matter, such as latex belts and PVC pipes. Her sculptures visually echo the linear nature of Swan’s painting and the vertical arrangement of Bodén’s stacks. Abrahamsson’s sculptures have shapes that allude to function and which delight in material tension. Choreographed into groups, her objects become stationary conductors that help navigate viewers through multiple meanings of time and space.
Irja Bodén works in many media; ceramics are at the core of her work. Presently on exhibit at the Konstmuseet i Norr, Sweden, Amos Eno will host a solo show of her work in September 2020. Irja grew up north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, and received her BFA from the State University of New York in 2006. She is a recipient of several residencies and grants, to include ones from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Vermont Studio Center. Her studio is in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Malin Abrahamsson is an inter-disciplinary artist deeply fascinated by material and existential transformation. The recipient of several residencies, grants, and awards, her work has been exhibited in and around New York and abroad. She has completed a number of public commissions, most recently a Percent for Art commission at PS 377Q in Queens, awarded by NYC Department of Culture and Public Art for Public Schools. Born and raised in northern Sweden, Malin received her BFA with an honorable mention from The School of Visual Arts in 1998. She now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
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 and he has an upcoming solo show at Amos Eno Gallery in October 2020.
Image: Philip Swan, 2019 E, 2019, oil on linen, 30 x 24 inches