LGBT: Personal Testimonies | Mary Swanson

MacRostie Gallery | On view through April.

“Unnamed” by Mary Swanson

In April the MacRostie Art Center’s Minnesota Gallery will exhibit LGBT: Personal Testimonies, by Mary Swanson. This exhibition of painted portraits reveals the stories of men and women in the LGBT community and explores the relationship between viewer and subject. What starts as simple painted lines and shapes becomes an awakening for the viewer and the portraits begin to evoke feelings of sympathy or empathy. Captivated by the influence of personal stories from around the world, her past projects have included paintings of individuals living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and portraits of people who grew up in Iowa.

Swanson’s work provides the viewer a glimpse into the reality of a certain group or community of people. “These individuals are real and have dedicated their time and their stories to myself and others,” says Swanson. “Reading the words while viewing the portrait allows for the transformation from a painting to a person.”

Mary Swanson grew up in Rockford, Illinois, the youngest daughter of an artist and business owner. She spent most of her childhood in art galleries surrounded by artists and creative people. One of her fondest memories as a child was participating in a college level painting course with her mother at Rockford University.  In 2004 she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she attended DePaul University to receive her BA in Secondary Art Education with a minor in painting. In 2006 she accepted a high school teaching position in Iowa where she currently resides with her daughter and her husband.