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The Canyon at CAC

February 24, 2018

Swoon: The Canyon: 1999 – 2017 is the first major museum survey of artist Caledonia Curry, aka Swoon, taking place through February 25, 2018 at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.  Curated by Steven Matijcio, the exhibition features prints, paper cut-outs, immersive installations, videos, maquettes, sound art, prototypes, photo documentation, and much  more.

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The survey begins with a representation of Swoon’s experience as an undergraduate art student in New York.  Inspired by the city, its people, and the physical layers and textures of her surroundings, the installation incorporates portraits, places and gestures. From Matijcio’s exhibition text: “Peering into the soul of a place, Curry grew increasingly involved in the inhabitants and interactions that generate the heartbeat of the urban environment.”

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Through travels and collaborations with other artists and creatives, Swoon’s work opened up to collaborative adventures, including building rafts to embark on nautical journeys such as the Miss Rockaway Armada (Mississippi River) and Swimming Cities of Floatback Sea (Hudson River), represented in videos, photo documentation, paper cut-outs, and even relics of the boats salvaged from storage.

 

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Curry’s work transcends her visual endeavors through her passion for socially relevant issues, including sustainable living environments, skill development in economically challenged areas, and the melding of diverse constituents to realize a goal.  Projects such as Braddock Tiles (Braddock, PA), the Music Box (New Orleans, LA) and Konbit Shelter (Komye, Haiti) are all collaborations that Curry helped create and that continue to make a difference in communities through alternative approaches to economy, building, place-making, architecture and resident-developed initiatives.  More information about these projects is at http://www.heliotropefoundation.org/

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Beyond the ambitious and large-scale projects and collaborations over the years, Curry also succeeds at realizing monumental prints and installations.  The Canyon includes a sound and visual installation that combines images and ideas of her family and her memories within a built structure created out of weathered materials, Curry’s voice heard through various different phone lines and a switchboard.  Her large-scale print of the Greek goddess Thalassa, which towers over gallery visitors in an upward facing gesture, is reflected upon by Matijcio as “21st century Thalassa rises to overcome the folly of mankind.”

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The Contemporary Arts Center allowed a remarkable, immersive exhibition in The Canyon, one that impacted audiences in ways not often seen in white-walled galleries.  Learn more about The Canyon and upcoming exhibitions at http://www.contemporaryartscenter.org/  To learn more about Curry’s work and her upcoming projects, visit https://swoonstudio.org/ 

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Congrats Callie!  It’s been amazing watching your art transform over the years, and I am constantly in awe of your ideas, so many of which have manifested into beautiful realities.  You continue to inspire me and many others; I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next!  Here’s to that special red backpack…

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