Pelican Harbor Park Boat Ramp, Miami Beach, FL

by Carolyn Swiszcz

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Artist Statement

 

As a denizen of a first-ring suburb in the frozen north, out of necessity I learned to take pleasure from what formerly got me down. I am at home in empty parking lots, looking at signs advertising products and services that no longer exist. Even when traveling, I tend to gravitate to the parts of cities that are on the margin. Miami Beach's Pelican Boat Ramp is near the middle of the pedestrian-unfriendly 79th Street Causeway. Across the road from this scrubby park, the intrepid traveler will find a pelican sanctuary, which is most magical just before sunset. I chose instead to paint the routered municipal park sign. Without it, I wouldn't have found the pelicans in the first place. I enjoy trying to find new ways to put color on my paintings. For this image I carved rubber stamps for the grass and used a simple stencil technique for the tree.

 

Carolyn Swiszcz

 

Born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Carolyn Swiszcz moved to Minnesota to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she earned a BFA in 1994. In the late 90s she spent three winters in Miami on a fellowship from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. The look of Miami Beach was changing from faded 1950s apartment buildings to shiny new condo towers; these surroundings are what originally inspired her to paint buildings that seem to be slated for destruction.  Swiszcz's work has been exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Drawing Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and M.Y. Art Prospects Gallery in New York. She lives in West Saint Paul, Minnesota, a place that she and her husband, photographer Wilson Webb, celebrated in a popular song and on YouTube.

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