Brooklyn-based artist Swoon (Caledonia Curry) is best known for her large, intricately-cut prints wheat pasted onto various urban surfaces, which first appeared in Brooklyn and Manhattan but now can be found all over the world.
She gained recognition as a street artist at a time when there were very few women with street credibility. At first people assumed she was a man despite the fact that her tag name, swoon, is a word typically associated with women. Her work has now appeared in very reputable institutions including the New Orleans Museum of Art and most recently at the Brooklyn Museum of Art with an exhibit called Swoon: Submerged Motherlands.
For this exhibition, Swoon created a site-specific installation in the museum’s rotunda gallery. It takes her street art to another level with fantastical natural landscapes centering around an immense sculptural paper tree. Around the tree are sculpted boats and rafts, as well as familiar figurative prints and drawings. Mother Nature is also evident with cut paper foliage and pieces that look like honey combs. The installation piece started out with general concepts but became very personal when Curry learned her mother was ill with cancer. There is more than one theme in the work but what stands out most is the exploration of motherhood with images of friends and of her own mother (I know this because I heard her speak at BMA with Brooklyn Street Art founders, Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo).
Fans of her work will not be disappointed with this exhibit. It is intricate and delicate with hidden details everywhere and at the same time immense and emotional. If you don’t have a chance to see her work before it closes on August 24th, you can still see her wheat paste works unexpectedly around the city, which is the most exciting way to discover them.