Multi-Media

Multi-Media

Vignette: Monica Stewart

On February 1, multi-media artist Monica Stewart will be recognized at the LVA Honors Luncheon as Emerging Artist of the Year.

'“Hansel and Gretel” by Monica Stewart, Cut paper, 9 ½ x 11 ½ inches, 2018

'“Hansel and Gretel” by Monica Stewart, Cut paper, 9 ½ x 11 ½ inches, 2018

Among the foundations of moral education in western society, the fairy tale has fallen somewhat into neglect. Post-modern revisionism is the lens through which we have looked back at this storytelling genre, but Monica Stewart has picked up the thread in ways that both honor the narrative tradition and deliver a fresh take on moral fables.

“In my recent work, I draw on abject imagery from fairy tales to allude to transformation, hybridity, female agency, and dysfunctional familial relationships as well as the magical and grotesque. The quick pace and supernatural imagery of fairy tales create a language that is rife with metaphors and allegories for the ways we experience everyday life. Fairy tales are also particularly strange spaces for women.  While often moralizing or, conversely, toppling patriarchal structures, fairy tales repeatedly feature women and girls who exist in liminal places; as both princess and monster, both lucky and unlucky, both free and bound.”

“Hans My Hedgehog” by Monica Stewart,, Cut paper, 11 ½ x 15 ½ inches, 2018

“Hans My Hedgehog” by Monica Stewart,, Cut paper, 11 ½ x 15 ½ inches, 2018

“While personal experiences and observations of these kinds of liminal spaces often provide the impetus for my work, I find uncanny relationships between real life and fiction more often than not. In my search for a place where the complications and trouble of life are addressed, I turned to fairy tales. Fairy tales, like life, are places where families fall apart, fortunes are made and lost, impossible tasks achieved, power dynamics shift, and the unthinkable and the inconceivable occur regularly. As the writer, Rebecca Solnit so succinctly states in The Faraway Nearby, “Fairy tales are about trouble, about getting into and out of it, and trouble seems to be a necessary stage on the route to becoming.”[1]”

Thus the rich and prolific imagery and ideas of fairy tales have become part of the visual language I employ in my work to address my own understanding of identity, life, and society. My reliance on paper to achieve this change is in large part due to the familiarity, malleability, and relationship to text that paper has. It may be manipulated in a hundred different ways, it may be made and unmade, as well as utterly transformed. A material that is both simultaneously fragile and strong holds the possibility for endless iterations, endless presentations and tellings of the tale. Papercutting itself also has a relationship with women’s work, leisure activities, and creative labor. Toy-like, tenuous, and tedious, papercutting and paper itself are processes and materials that ally themselves both to the anonymous nature of fairytales, silhouettes, environments that begin to border on the theatrical.”

The imagery and composition in Stewart’s work enchant the viewer by conjuring associations with our own childhood relationships to fairy tales. The use of cut paper emphasizes the clarity and innocence of the tropes even while she frames our understanding of the stories in different ways. The physical presentation exploits the dimensionality of the technique and extends the work into fully sculptural forms.

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Stewart will be included in an upcoming show at Swanson Contemporary which is being co-curated by Nicholas Cook and KCJ Szwedzinski, and will be on exhibit February 22nd to March 30th.

Hometown: Louisville Kentucky
Education: BFA, Painting, Murray State University; MFA candidate at the University of Louisville.
Website: www.monica-stewart.com

[1] Solnit, Rebecca. (2014). The Faraway Nearby. London: Granta Books, 13.

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“The Six Swans” by Monica Stewart,, Cut paper 15 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches, 2017

“The Six Swans” by Monica Stewart,, Cut paper 15 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches, 2017

“Fabled Fragments” by Monica Stewart, Cut paper, 35 x 40 inches, 2018, For Suspend Louisville’s 2018 productions of “Fabled Fragments.” This large piece contains six individual smaller papercuts used for playbills and promotional materials.

“Fabled Fragments” by Monica Stewart, Cut paper, 35 x 40 inches, 2018, For Suspend Louisville’s 2018 productions of “Fabled Fragments.” This large piece contains six individual smaller papercuts used for playbills and promotional materials.


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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.

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Multi-Media

Vignette: 2018 Hadley Prize Recipient KCJ Szwedzinski

The Community Foundation of Louisville, in partnership with Louisville Visual Art, is pleased to announce that Louisville-based multi-media artist KCJ Szwedzinski is the winner of the sixth annual Mary Alice Hadley Prize for Visual Art. The $5,000 award is an opportunity for local artists to enhance their careers through a targeted enrichment experience of their own design.

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Szwedzinki’s submission outlines a series of research trips, “designed to synthesize seemingly disparate bodies of knowledge (and) archival practices for historical information and my personal inherited legacies.” Her intention is to, “broaden my ability to make work that is rooted in my own Judaic heritage, while facilitating engagement of a more universal audience.” Her itinerary is:

·      Seven days in San Francisco to visit the Jewish Contemporary Museum and The Holocaust   Center.

·      Fourteen days in Washington DC and Philadelphia to visit the United Sates Holocaust Memorial Museum and Archives (DC) and to take a six-day course, entitled “The History of Artists’ Books since 1950”, at the Rare Book School (Philadelphia).

·      Three days at the Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne Indiana

"The Klezmer Step | Glass Study" by KCJ Szwedzinski , Enamel on glass, 22x22in, 2018

"The Klezmer Step | Glass Study" by KCJ Szwedzinski, Enamel on glass, 22x22in, 2018

Memory is a central preoccupation of art in the early years of the 21st century. Perhaps it is the turning of the century, or perhaps it is because we can now look further into our immediate past than earlier periods. The last 100 or more years have allowed a continuum of understanding and a voracious appetite for ongoing social narrative that is endlessly fed by digital technology. That continuum is important to Szwedzinski:

“Every time a story is retold it takes on a new life,” she states. “Simultaneously preventing that information from being lost to history while slowly transforming into something new altogether. These mechanisms for transmission slowly shape collective memory across time and ultimately have a huge hand in shaping personal identity. These are the tools and teachers of belief and belonging. My work reflects on belonging, displacement, and the shifting nature of narrative across time and considers the intersection of art, belief, ethics, and atrocity.”

“Printmaking, glassblowing, and kiln forming are the main processes I use in my
work. Although producing very different visual results, print and glass have
historically played a large role in the documentation of history and the passing on
of stories. From the printing press to the spreading of political propaganda,
printmaking has always disseminated information to multiple people. Glass as a
material often goes unacknowledged but plays a huge role in informing our
experience of the world, whether its creating barriers to keep us safely in or to
isolate information and objects within a museum or archive setting. I particularly
find it interesting that glass and printmaking have been silent, but active,
witnesses throughout history and as an artist concerned with legacy, these
processes both present rich and dynamic stories that support the concepts I
choose to work with.”

Szwedzinski will be interning at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma Washington for the months of July and most of August. 

Louisville Visual Art will honor KCJ Szwedzinski on Thursday, June 21, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in their Portland gallery at 1538 Lytle Street, 40203. The reception is free and open to the public.

"Woven Debka and Klezmer Step" by KCJ Szwedzinski , Graphite on stonehenge, 50x38in, 2018

"Woven Debka and Klezmer Step" by KCJ Szwedzinski, Graphite on stonehenge, 50x38in, 2018

Recent exhibitions (2018):

·      Doors: A Collaborative Book Project, University of Louisville, KY

·      Blue Grass Bienniel: A Juried Exhibition of Kentucky Artists, Claypool-Young Art Gallery, Morehead, KY

·      Glass Art Society International Online Student Exhibition

·      Freeze State: Disassociating From the Here and Now, print exchange and exhibition (co-curator),
Louisville, KY (upcoming)

·      It’s Your World: Art About the Future of Community, 1619 Flux: Art + Activism, Louisville, KY (Juried)

·      What’s the Theme?, OPEN Community Arts Center, Louisville, KY (Group Show)

·      OH + 5: Ohio Border 10th Biennial, Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, OH (Juried)

Hometown: Jacksonville Florida
Education: MFA candidate. University of Louisville, Louisville, KY (expected May 2019); BA cum laude, Art History and Printmaking, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, 2009
Website: www.kcjszwedzinski.com

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"Coincidence of Opposites I" by KCJ Szwedzinski,  Stonehenge paper, steel, 11x15x9in, 2018

"Coincidence of Opposites I" by KCJ Szwedzinski, Stonehenge paper, steel, 11x15x9in, 2018

"Coincidence of Opposites II" by KCJ Szwedzinski,  Stonehenge paper, steel, 11x15x9in, 2018

"Coincidence of Opposites II" by KCJ Szwedzinski, Stonehenge paper, steel, 11x15x9in, 2018

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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.