Engaging elements of painting, sculpture and collage, Nan Swid eloquently composes pieces at once emotionally evocative and intellectually challenging. Informed by the vocabulary of modern abstraction, Swid utilizes a variety of materials ranging from wax encaustic, pen and ink, paint and found objects to create lush constructions that highlight the interplay of form and surface.
Though her materials have an intrinsic beauty and value of their own, Swid is more concerned with how the elements of finished forms interact and play off one another than she is with the preciousness of their constituent parts. Often antique books coated in layers and layers of wax encaustic are nailed, bound or glued shut. At times, pages are removed and combined with bright cellophane, gold leaf and the yellowing pages of old newspapers—all to stirring effect. Unafraid to dissect her materials, Swid often resurrects objects by deconstructing them. With savvy, she excavates the beauty within weatherworn pages, legal ledgers, books and scraps of wallpaper to compose singular objects and provocative forms.
Swid's work is experimental at its core. The work has a sense of immediacy, too. This aspect lends a rhythm and energy all its own. Yet, the work always feels grounded. Though chance plays in her process — pouring wax encaustic and free-associative drawing — each decision is ultimately deliberate. This combination of chance and intention results in visually satisfying pieces, brimming with uncalculated beauty.
"My work is a progression," the artist explains, "an experiment in material, color, and scale."