“Middle Ground” began as a purely artistic exploration about four years ago. It has evolved into a much deeper dive into the world that I am the child of.
As a painter, I am a linear puzzle-maker who loves nothing more than to create compelling shapes and tones and put them together in an interesting manner. I have design sense that leads me to this style of expression, which in turn leads me to love the angles and light of the urban landscape. That has been my artistic world for quite a long time. So, when I came across a cache of vintage panoramic postcards in an antique store, my curiosity was piqued and I sought out comparable scenic views throughout the cities of New Bedford, Fall River, Brockton and Pawtucket. I expanded my canvas size to a larger size and expanded my vision.
That vision led to an introspection that was unexpected, but in hindsight, should not have been. By painting these scenes, I was, in fact, bringing to life my own origin story. I was raised in this Middle Ground, the great grandson of an immigrant shoemaker, a weaver and a grocer. When I was a child, my parents would drive us to downtown Brockton and Taunton Green to see the Christmas lights. My father worked in a bank on Main St., my grandmother in a retail department store. It dawned on me that I knew those panoramic scenes well because they were part of my heritage. Revisiting them was not just nostalgic, but a comfort, because, contrary to the perception of many of our leaders, they are still there, and, to me, beautiful and alive.
— Randy Swann
“Middle Ground: Scenic Vistas of Southcoast Gateway Cities” featuring the paintings of Randy Swann will be on exhibition January 13 through February 18, 2017.
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