N Swearer

Medium: glass | metal | mixed_media
Those that have followed my work know that I explore in many areas because I am curious, but over my lifetime I have had two main areas of interest, humans and animals. First is my expression of the human condition. This includes my observations of who we are as human beings, our characters and attitudes, how we interact as social beings, and the ongoing issues we deal with as a society. Each bronze character has its’ own personification but as they are grouped together larger issues are examined, and by grouping them differently they remain fluid in their expression over time. I have light heartedly made them naked to cut to the chase, to remove the lays of protection and deceptive context clothing affords, and thereby allows me to fully use their bodies in an expressive manner. While my humans are a personal investigation, my intention is a social creation to be interacted with, and when the observer has done so their own character is often revealed. To that vain I have observed how different we can all be. This is not meant to be highhanded and confrontational but more a casual observation and form of social satire. But I have found the work to have quite a negative effect on some viewers. Perhaps it is that they can’t get past the nakedness; or is it something a bit more ingrained in the viewer’s own character? Second are my animals who are a playful diversion from my humans and are usually created in a spirit of whimsy (though I have been known to slip in a bit of social satire). What is a 30-foot-long dragon by the name of Liz, on whom kids can play, if not whimsical? In general, I prefer to work on a larger scale to take up the viewers’ physical space, thus forcing interaction. These include a 40-foot-long iguana made out of railroad spike heads, a majestic 16-foot wingspan eagle, and all forms of metal dogs; some very realistic, some expressionistic. I am usually playing with the elements of art in these creations i.e.; line, texture, shape etc. but throughout the work I am trying to create different characters. We as humans like to humanize our pets describing them with human characteristics, and in that sense, I humanize my animals. My most recent work is a combination of the two areas of investigation; to me the next logical step. If I humanize my animals then I should animalize my humans. Indeed, historically there are many rich traditions across cultures of attributing animal characteristics to humans. From Greek mythology there is the minotaur and the centaur and of course there are the signs of the zodiac, and someone might be said to “be sly as a fox.” My human animalization is more along the line of the latter, but crosses boundaries sometimes referring to societal rather than individual characteristics: the bear and the bull for the economy, and the donkey and the elephant for politics. One of my favorite new creations is the “Scapegoat” because it is clear that some people need them.
Scapegoat cast bronze