Meet the Artist: Abigail Swanson

Meet the Artist: Abigail Swanson

Up in the Holland Project Gallery for only a few more short days we have Quiet Things, an exhibition of beautiful photography and installation based work by emerging artist Abigail Swanson. Abigail has been in Reno living and making art for the last year and we are super sad to see her move back to her hometown Seattle. We caught up with her for a few quick interview Qs about art, Quiet Things and butterflies before her show closes and she heads back north. Check out the mini interview below then be sure to stop by the Holland Project Gallery to see Quiet Things before it closes this Friday!!

1. What inspires you in your art making or even just in general?

Art allows us to scream in to the void of an ephemeral and meaningless existence.

2. Can you tell us a bit about your use of photography and installation based work for this exhibit?

The impetus to create installation-based work comes from years of experimenting with photography. Creating a site-specific, palpable, installation is an extension of my desire to present an empty vessel into which viewers can unpack their own emotions, ideas, politics, et cetera.

3. Everyone has been quite drawn to your installation pieces in the gallery (especially the syringes), can you tell us a bit more about your use of materials?

I could tell you more, but I would risk incriminating myself and others.

4. Tell us more about the butterflies. Where did you find them all? Do you have a favorite?

Initially, I was hunting and catching butterflies myself all around Nevada. I enjoy being fully immersed in the process of chasing, catching, and pinning the butterflies. I spent hours running around, net in tow, chasing after specific butterflies. For a while, I was obsessed with catching Papilio rutulus (or, Western Tiger Swallowtail). Running after them mid-conversation was a common occurrence. It took me months to finally make the catch. I was relieved by this catch because I was beginning to sound like an old fisherman telling tales of the one elusive fish that got away. Soon, though, winter came and most migrations of butterflies moved to warmer climates. Because hunting was scarce, I did some research only to find that human beings can order butterfly corpses utilizing the World Wide Web. Most of the butterflies in QUIET THINGS were ordered from a website aptly named

5. We absolutely love the dress sculptures you’ve been making for Tiny Gems last summer and for your current exhibition at Holland. What is the significance/symbolism of the dress for you?

I am interested in dispelling illusion, myth, and gossip associated with the arbitrary rules and standards attributed to femininity. The empty dresses, tarnished and burnt are meant to represent projected illusion/appearance vs. individual truth.