The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg FL is proud to present the first solo museum exhibition of multidisciplinary artist Gio Swaby (b. 1991, Nassau, Bahamas), whose work explores the intersections of Blackness and womanhood. Employing the portrait genre and a range of textile-based techniques, Swaby’s work is anchored in a desire to present and celebrate the complex personalities of the sitters. Interested in restorative forms of resistance, she has stated, “My work operates in the context of understanding love as liberation, a healing, and restorative force. These pieces celebrate personal style, strength, beauty, individuality, and imperfections.”
Swaby works in series form, and the exhibition will feature bodies of work spanning 2017 through 2021. Growing up surrounded by the threads and fabrics of her mother, a seamstress, Swaby chooses to work in mediums traditionally associated with domesticity as a means to imbue her works with familiarity, labor, and care. Swaby upends tradition, however, and gives the sewing medium a sense of monumentality with the life-size series Pretty Pretty. The subjects are intricately rendered in freehand lines of thread, and shown on the reverse side of the canvas so that the stitching process—its knots and loose threads, so often hidden—is visible. There’s a vulnerability to “showing the back,” but Swaby embraces and elevates the imperfections.
Art Institute of Chicago (AIC): April 8, 2023 – July 3, 2023
Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, MA): Aug 12, 2023 – Nov 26, 2023
To learn more please visit this link: https://mfastpete.org/exh/gio-swaby/