Collection: Lori Swartz- Paintings

None of us come from a lineage of the tame. No matter what happens I will always think of myself as that kid living in a van with my hippie parents. I will be that kid who never cried, who dug for gas money dimes under the van seat, who knew that everything good was on the next stretch of highway. That is a part of my private self.

With nearly constant technological contact, how do we decide what is public and what is private? How do we decide what to show and what to hide? In an era of social media, extreme politics and hungry advertisers, our identities become commodified. My work asks the question: How do we claim ourselves and still engage in this expanding, wondrous world? As a culture we are learning to toe this line, through trial and error.

My most recent work addresses the concept of identity as it relates to the public self versus the private self. I make colorful contemporary abstract paintings. I begin with a storm of chaos, painting large forms and images, using quick mark making and a variety of materials, then simplify to basic compositional elements. I layer using a tool chest of gathered materials: cardboard, childhood images, wallpaper, canvas, words, stencils, spray paint, acrylic, pens, graphite, crayons, markers and oils. I sand through the layers to reveal what is underneath.

We all have chaos in life, moments of disaster, thoughts, feelings, ideas. As humans we attempt to make sense of it all. As a painter, I do the same. There are messages and ideas hidden in the layers, one thing is seen from a distance, but as the viewer gets closer, there is a world of experience hidden. My work is a conversation between the canvas and me, between the canvas and the viewer, between the viewer and me. Life events, identity and experience embed themselves in the content. As with any person, what you see on the surface is not all there is. Closer examination reveals complexity.