2018: The Year in Review

a note from donna...

Hello everyone we are still here. Much has happened this year and I for one am glad to see 2018 fade into the background and welcome 2019.

Thank you for sticking with us. We’ve listened to your feedback and will make purchasing art easier in 2019!

We wish you all a healthy & happy new year.


a note from cecily...

It feels like 2018 flew by, as many of you have noticed Donna and I have both been extremely busy which unfortunately meant d+c contemporary was neglected for what seems like the entire year!!!

But we are back and still completely committed and dedicated to making time for this passion project!    

In 2018 I had the pleasure of working with Space Gallery owner and artist Björn Nordén! This summer in partnership with Splace Gallery and the Embassy of Sweden in Japan for Sweden Japan 150 Anniversary I curated the exhibition Space/Time in Sweden/Japan it was an exhibit of Björn Nordèn’s minimal works on paper and a series of his new garden pots. The space was curated so that the viewer would be more aware of the idea of space, the space in-between and the cultural similarities between Sweden and Japan. The vernissage took place June 29th and the exhibit continued through the Annual Kultur & Skördefest. I am proud that this project was just the first phase the next phases will continue through 2019 you can follow the project at #spacetimeswedenjapan

space/time in sweden/japan- vernissage photo credit cecily ferguson

space/time in sweden/japan- vernissage photo credit cecily ferguson

 In addition, in April I was offered a part-time/temp job with Mariestad’s Kommun ( a government job) I was literally in shock for the first 3 months because I have been looking, waiting and hoping for some type of part-time employment- and this job just happened to line up perfectly with my educational background and professional experiences. I was hired as the project leader for a pilot art and gardening program called Off Season Art Gardening and my responsibilities included contextualizing the program, developing an artist criteria, managing an artist call, establishing a jury, conceptualizing the brand, working with the three artists that were selected, curating online content, and marketing and promoting. I could not have even dreamed of an opportunity like this here in #mymariestad! And even though my part of the project has come to end I am incredibly tacksam for the opportunity I was offered to work with Mariestad’s Kommun because of the overall experience, the people I have connected with and the new partnerships that are just developing!

vadsbo museum summer work shop for off season art gardening: photo credit cecily ferguson

vadsbo museum summer work shop for off season art gardening: photo credit cecily ferguson

jette mellgren    for off season art gardening: photo credit cecily ferguson

jette mellgren for off season art gardening: photo credit cecily ferguson

ninette koning    for off season art gardening: photo credit cecily ferguson

ninette koning for off season art gardening: photo credit cecily ferguson

jenni ward    for off season art gardening: photo credit cecily ferguson

jenni ward for off season art gardening: photo credit cecily ferguson

 And my intentions for us going into 2018 though they were not executed they have not changed so here is a reminder…

 Donna and I met while attending Howard University as graduate students in the art history department.  We both focused on Caribbean and Latin American art and took a special interest with exile, expat and diaspora artists. We are passionate about migration and immigration! And I believe that D+C Contemporary has arrived to a place that will begin to tell a story about the expat art experience. This is a unique experience that reflects not only one’s history and roots but also a connection to the place that they call home (or their 2nd home).  Moving forward the artists featured and the exhibitions will predominately, but not exclusively, explore the expat experience.

 And we are STILL incredibly grateful for all the artists, curators, and collectors that continue to inspire us!

 Wishing you all an artsy new year! xox

2017: The Year in Review

a note from donna...

In Latin America and other countries, 25 November is a day to pay tribute to the Mirabal sisters as well as to globally recognize gender violence. On 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

We organized our first 25 November art exhibition in Washington, DC featuring Carolina Mayorga several years ago. This year, we are so pleased to have participated in this important international event once again.

We had a pop-up group exhibition in Barcelona, Spain. Paintings, photography, and video work by artists from China, the Netherlands, Spain, and the US were featured. All the artists currently live in Barcelona and agreed to donate a percentage of art sold to TAMAIA, a local social non-profit cooperative that assists women and girls who have experienced violence. Some of the art confronted aspects of violence straight on like Catalan artist Carla Gallén’s Family Portraits / Retrats de Familia whose digital paintings creatively and empathetically tackled the subject of gender violence by providing visual commentary on children murdered in Spain this year.

We are constantly in awe of D+C Contemporary artists Bianca and Brenda Hofman (Barcelona Hofman). Through photography and ultrashort stories they are able to perfectly capture varying aspects of the human spirit. In Home Sweet Home, the sisters delved into the inner turmoil one may feel. 

barcelona pop-up | photo credit: donna banks, 2017

barcelona pop-up | photo credit: donna banks, 2017

In addition to the art exhibition, Joy Laking’s Invisible Prison monologues were performed. Laking compiled the monologues after interviewing women and men in Nova Scotia, Canada. The monologues were performed in English, Spanish, and Catalan thanks to the hard work of volunteer translators.

D+C Contemporary would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Women’s March Barcelona, the UNiTE campaign, Joy Laking, and the volunteer translators for their assistance in making this event a success.


a note from cecily...

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived and I have one question: where have the past 12 months gone?

Donna and I started D+C Contemporary 2 years ago as a part-time (part-time) passion project - over the past couple of years it has slowly, but organically, evolved. I am so excited to approach the 3rd year because we have so many ideas that we will share in 2018 – many of them were inspired by artists that we covered and projects we did in 2017!

D+C Contemporary pop-ups officially launched this year - the first one was in Mariestad, Sweden and the second was in Barcelona, Spain.  Both events were successful and we are looking forward to more pop-ups and creating a pop-up experience online with the coming year. 

mariestad pop-up | photo credit: cecily ferguson, 2017

mariestad pop-up | photo credit: cecily ferguson, 2017

I am also excited about focusing more on studios (and how the word has evolved). We know artists who have created spaces in their homes, some with studios outside and some who have what we tend to think of as a traditional studio space. Both inside the studio and the new series the studio visit will explore the artist’s process and their tools.

This year I attended Orbero’s Open Art Biennale – which was, as always, incredibly exciting -this biennale has inspired us to create an annual online public art experience. Easy Access: Public Art for All will take place during the summer months. We both believe that public art is such an asset to communities, cities and countries and this is our way of celebrating our appreciation for public art. 

openart 2017, chiaharu shiota, sailing in the sky | photo credit: cecily ferguson

openart 2017, chiaharu shiota, sailing in the sky | photo credit: cecily ferguson

Finally, as many of you might know Donna and I met while attending Howard University as graduate students in the art history department.  We both focused on Caribbean and Latin American art and took a special interest with exile, expat and diaspora artists. We are passionate about migration and immigration! And I believe that D+C Contemporary has arrived to a place that will begin to tell a story about the expat art experience. This is a unique experience that reflects not only one’s history and roots but also a connection to the place that they call home (or their 2nd home).  Moving forward the artists featured and the exhibitions will predominately, but not exclusively, explore the expat experience.

We are incredibly grateful for all the artists, curators, and collectors that continue to inspire us!

Wishing you all a happy + healthy holiday season! xox

From The Editor's Desk: April 2017

One of my most memorable gallery experiences when I first moved to Mariestad, was with Galleri Baggen. I discovered the gallery on one of my early morning jogs and though it was closed the windows were inviting and almost encouraged art voyeurs to peek inside, so I did just that! There was one work in the window that caught my eye and several works that I could see that looked interesting As I continued to scope out the space I noticed a wall of colorful abstracts that were warm and inviting, I wondered if they were created by an artist with connections to the Caribbean – then I thought for a moment maybe Spain seemed more realistic since I now live in SwedenThese works seemed familiar because the purely abstract forms reminded me of Joan Mirò and Wassily Kandinsky but there was another element that kept me going back to view the paintings. During this time, I was researching various artists and art movements from Sweden and I saw a loose connection to the unacknowledged pioneer of abstract art Hilma af Klint. Hilma af Klint, like Mirò and Kandinsky, painted pure abstractions but she incorporated another aspect that explored spirituality. The more time I spent with these colorful abstracts, I started to see a connection with nature, so every chance I had, during that very cold spring, I would visit the gallery and absorb the warm energy from these abstract paintings 

 Finally, several months later I had the opportunity to meet this fictional expat Spanish artist now living in Sweden (at least this was the story I created in my head)! Art Crawl is one of the largest events in this small harbor town that takes place in the late fall during harvest celebrations. I walked around seeing several works and visiting so many art galleries and alternative gallery spaces hoping I would meet the artist whose work I had been admiring for several months. And finally, the last place on the map. I walked up a flight of stairs greeted by the most amazing colorful abstracts. And sitting on the sofa was a tall, lean woman with long black hair. I said hello in my beginner’s Swedish language explaining that I was not from Sweden but I had been living here for almost a year, studying the language and enjoying her group of works that were exhibited at Gallery Baggen.  It turns out that she was definitely not from the Caribbean or from Spain, she was from Sweden and spoke English! We spent almost an hour, chatting about her work and the fact that she lived in Spain for many months. She lived in Fuengirola during the late 1980s. And it was upon her return to Sweden that she started to incorporate stronger and richer colors and this is her style today. 

Fast forward two years later, Ylvla Dimetri is exhibiting online for the first time with D+C Contemporary!  We are incredibly excited to feature her in the exhibition Spain on My Mind. You can see the exhibition online from Friday April 7 – Saturday May 27, 2017 and after that @dccontemporary via Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

Yvonne Swahn

Indeed we cannot imagine how a mind could paint. It is by lending [her] body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings. 

- Maurice Merleau-Ponty ( “Eye and Mind.” The Primacy of Perception)

Yvonne Swahn is a painter whose abstract art reflects movement. Her works take the viewer on a journey that incite mental and physical reactions. And though her work is often discussed in relation to poetry, there is another dimension that encourages movement through time and space.

My first experience with Yvonne Swahn’s art was a few months after my move to Sweden. Swahn was preparing for a studio move, the first in 15 years. The studio that she was preparing to leave was at one time a mental hospital, which would soon provide housing for immigrants. It came as no surprise that moving was the topic of our conversation.

During the early part of her career Swahn focused on graphics. Today, her aesthetic is a cross between Jackson Pollock and Cy Twombly combined with a bit of mixed-media practices. Her visual dialogue expresses passages through time and memory. Her art also suggests that navigating through abstract spaces has the ability to generate multiple sensory and cognitive meanings. Swahn states, “In my mind, I am getting on a train that will not stop. And this was a genuine feeling that I had; I was getting on a train that had been running all the time…” This analogy best describes Swahn’s creative process.   

LivBoy ( 2012-2013), mixed media

LivBoy (2012-2013), mixed media

Livboy is a profound example of the train metaphor. The viewer is encouraged to move around the space thus alluding to the idea of travelling. The texture on the doughnut shaped sculpture resembles train tracks. Tags encompass the entire work. These remind the viewer of ribbons that are tied to luggage so travelers can distinguish their belongings. The piece is created by wrapping carpet gauze around old clothes. This references packing prior to travelling, but also represents the complexity of her work. She comments, “My works are portraits, but not in the traditional sense because they are portraits of my mind. I always have a feeling that I am heading somewhere far away.”  Experiencing Swahn's work is a journey. Each piece symbolizes a voyage.   

Molnet  (2012), mixed media

Molnet (2012), mixed media

Molnet is a white textured, entangled, oval object that is suspended in air. Again, the viewer is encouraged to walk around this organic yet methodically constructed work. Molnet awakens childhood memories of cloud watching. At that moment, the viewer is transported back in time to an age of innocence and imagination.   

Lockande Sammanhang is a heavily layered work that incorporates shades of dark blues, bright reds, and black undertones. You immediately feel the artist's passion when looking at this piece. The canvas is covered with scratches, splotches, and specks of gold. The complex center is smeared with yellow and gold hues. White traces blend with red smudges creating shades of pink. Swahn’s unique application of the gold colored metal in this work creates an almost shattered mirror effect. As you move around the piece, reflections of self surprisingly appear.

Lockande Sammanhang  (2012), oil on canvas

Lockande Sammanhang (2012), oil on canvas

Swahn’s process is a bit unpredictable. The pieces begin to take on a life of their own through a unique call and response action between the work and the artist. Swahn states, “I start with a spot here and there but I am not sure where the spots will lead me, so there becomes an interplay between me and the [work]. Most of the time it continues and when I think I am done,  I realize I am not near done, so I destroy [the work] and the process continues and when it is really hopeless it starts to grow [into] something that is very important and from that point the picture emerges.” Similar to Lockande Sammanhang, Främmande Mark exemplifies the relationship between the artist and her canvas.   

Främmande Mark is another heavily layered painting. It appears a bit weathered, rusted, or even antiqued, andengages the viewer like an old friend. The color palette is warm and inviting with hues of gold, yellow, black, blue, white, and copper. The canvas is covered with smudges, scratches, splatters, and drips. Each of the gestural actions reflects how Swahn physically places herself into the work. While contemplating each stroke, the viewer has the opportunity to experience Swahn’s energy and share her journey.

Främmande Mark  (2012), oil on canvas

Främmande Mark (2012), oil on canvas

Yvonne Swahn’s art takes on a life of its own and engages with the viewer. The involvement between the viewer and the artwork stimulates a physical and emotional reaction. Physically navigating around the work evokes a passionate response that is followed by a journey through past experiences, present conditions, and future dreams.