Shelf Life, is an exhibition by Carolyn Swiszcz, and is coupled with a Project Room show by Mickey Kerr.
For this exhibition entitled Shelf Life, the Minnesota-based painter/printmaker once again demonstrates her provocative take on strip mall stores and store window displays. The humble appeal of these barely surviving Midwest suburban stores inspires the artist to conduct detailed investigations into their materials and the designs of their displays. Swiszcz explained it like this in one of her recent magazine interview:
When I see these window displays my heart swells and I think, ‘Oh! They’re trying! Somebody tried their best with their time and resources.’ They actually made those decisions and ordered those signs and they had dreams about their business.
While being faithful to her observation, Swiszcz also applies hyper-real colors and patterns to the buildings and their surroundings, combining varied techniques of painting, drawing and printmaking. Swiszcz’s dollhouse-like painted buildings cynically but affectionately crystallize the dreams and ambitions of middle class Americans for a better life. If the products these stores sell have a shelf life, shouldn’t the business itself? Swiszcz seems to know the answer. “Ultimately I’d like things to stay the way they are, and since those places seemed doomed, I can at least preserve them in my work.”