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Adam Swanson

John Steffl GalleryApril 1 – May 3

Image Credit: Adam Swanson, Voice, acrylic on panel, 29” x 48”; I'll Carry The Weightacrylic on panel, 32” x 32”

My Bones May Break, acrylic on panel, 29” x 48”

Adam Swanson uses bright colors in a soft palette to build vibrant subjects. His paintings create stories that feel playful and imaginary, while the combination of wild animals with technology evokes an environmental commentary. Swanson describes his triptych, “This invented scenario of robots holding animals asks viewers to consider unfamiliar places, such as the lines between true and false, fiction and documentation, natural growth and technological development. I paint wild animals and scientific equipment to create poignant and sometimes humorous tensions between humans and the natural world.” Each animal featured in this series represents different levels of environmental adaptability. Monarch butterfly, Gentoo penguin, and Red fox have responded to environmental changes with varying degrees of success. 

Swanson’s work stands between human and nonhuman worlds, noting, “As humans and creators we have the ability to choose whether to use our inventions to heal, protect, and promote the growth of the rest of the natural world or rape and pillage it.” Expertly and playfully colliding imagination, machinery, and the natural world, Swanson’s paintings simultaneously delight and provoke thought. 


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Adam Swanson lives and works in Cloquet, Minnesota. His murals can be found throughout Minnesota, and he has completed residencies locally and abroad, including Cape Town, South Africa; Vaxjo, Sweden; and Palmer Station, Antarctica.

Swanson's Website 


Image Credit: Adam Swanson, Let's Get Started36" x 48"acrylic on cradled panel



  The Duluth Art Institute's programs and services are made possible in part through the support of the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2018.

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