Artist Profile: Laura Swanson

Learn more about artist Laura Swanson’s piece Street Clocks for The Socrates Annual exhibition through our social media activation:

INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER: September 29, 2017

I started out as a photographer and my first series theatrically depicted the contrasting statures of myself and my partner in domestic scenes. Though I often found photo limiting and desired to depict body size in more physical and abstract ways. I began working with ready-made objects at the end of my junior year when I found myself bored at an IKEA. I was standing between floor lamps on a pedestal and desk lamps on a shelf. I observed that most lamps were of the exact same design, but just different scale. I felt compelled to pair the lamps, as I thought it’d look funny and cute, but also poetic and intimate. So for my undergraduate school’s annual spring show, I realized that compelling image.

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Of all the various themes in my practice, my friends have the most fun with my obsession with paired objects of the same design but different scale. Over the past 8 years, they’ve sent me photos of pairings they’ve come across. It makes me so happy when I get a message saying “Guess what I found!!!” because I know it will be a pairing. Above is a selection of photos from friends and pairings I’ve come across out in the world.

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The final post for my takeover is a rare view of ‘Street Clocks’ at night when Socrates was fully lit for the Park’s benefit gala on Wednesday. The heights of the clocks correspond to my own and my partner’s stature—4 feet and 6 feet. The work examines assumptions about the normative size of adult bodies in public. By altering the clocks poles to reflect our conspicuous height difference, I’m exploring whether these iconic objects, which have a utilitarian function and represent a feeling of grandeur, lose their usefulness and significance and transform into to a whimsical portrait to be looked at.

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Socrates is open 365 days a year from 10am to sunset.