ART: “Ryan Swanson”

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Collage has been traditionally associated with design strategies and the political disruptions of the Dada movement of the 1920s. Chicago based designer Ryan Swanson interlaces objects and bodies in unusual ways, channeling those who have come before with a glossy commercial edge.

Swanson doesn’t shy away from consumption and readily admits that our identities are constructed contextually, rather than permanently. His images distort scale and color, constantly giving us an object-based humanity that’s highly stylized yet fragile. A face covered in hounds tooth pattern; a muscular arm protruding from the mouth of an animal with sharp teeth; a torso with a candelabra for a head – these are just some of the treats Swanson has created for us.

The convergence of art, design and product placement is something we are used to. Swanson pushes this comfort out to the extreme edges of recognizable imagery: I find myself moving my own arm to make sure it’s still attached to my body, and not crawling about on the floor with my Nike running shoes. Scary yet cool.

Text by Marion Piper.

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