Ann Schwab: PURE

Ann Schwab: PURE
BECA | CoLAB Projects
October 3 – 31, 2009

Ann Schwab: PURE at BECA


“My photographic work depicts different steps in the process of coping with physical and emotional trauma, the physical wounds often acting as metaphors for emotional ones. Depiction of uncomfortable, disquieting acts, evidence of the sources of strength within and the course of healing provide trauma and healing as the point and counter point in the stages of affliction and recovery.

This current body of work – PURE – focuses on the regenerative, curative power of the natural world. The exaltation of the humble, the reverence of the beauty and singularity of form and the evocation elicited by a site or entity are presented as a balm for healing from injury.

Plants or natural forms figure prominently in my work. The human healing process is metaphorically paralleled and facilitated by nature. The aesthetics/beauty of nature allows for a rejuvenation of the spirit, and function as a wellspring of strength. Also, the self-healing capabilities of plants are contrasted with the human process of healing. I am fascinated with a plant’s ability to regenerate. I draw parallels between our human methods of overcoming trauma– both emotional and physical– and the growth processes of the natural world.

For the Lilt installation, and the other works based on maple seeds, I was captivated by the dual fragility and durability of these seeds. Their diaphanous structures– seemingly so tenuous– are tenacious, and result in the propagation of the species. These seeds have a strength that belies their delicate appearance.

In both the Ultrasounds series and in Linger, this parallel between our human progress and the growth processes of the natural world manifests itself in a different manner. While viewing jellyfish, I was struck by the similarity of their movements in the water with the movements of my unborn son in the amniotic fluid of the womb. The elegant, languorous movements of the jellyfish were hypnotic and soothing. I was again made aware of the commonalities of all living organisms and the underlying connections between us.

Formally, I enjoy creating relationships between disparate elements. And, through the use of multiples and serials of prints, I am able to reveal narratives and to draw correlations between seemingly incongruous elements. In Ultrasounds, I have created a relationship between an image and a sound component. When experienced in conjunction with one another, each element becomes greater than the sum of its parts– and maintains a symbiotic dependency. By utilizing a variety of materials, I can develop a more interactive piece of work with which the viewer can have a dialogue. In Lilt, by freeing the image from the confines of the standard rectangle, and by giving it a three-dimensional form, the images become interactive with the viewer’s space– blurring the edge of where the piece ends and the outside world begins. Employing varied media and alternative formats allows me a simultaneous freedom and accuracy which traditional photography alone does not provide. It allows me to correlate my idea with my piece more exactly to most effectively convey my message.” – Ann Schwab

About the artist:
Ann Schwab works in photography, mixed media and installation and received her B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art and an M.F.A. from Tulane University. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including: a Maryland State Arts Council Fellowship, a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship, a Surdna Foundation Fellowship and professional development grants from the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Surdna Foundation. Ann Schwab’s work has gained critical acclaim in publications such as Art Papers, New Orleans Art Review, Kansas City Art Review and The Gambit. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally and are held in numerous institutional and private collections.

BECA Gallery