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Julianne Swartz

Co-Portraits Portfolio

Mixed Greens is thrilled to present Julianne Swartz’s fifth photography portfolio, Co-Portraits. Using her camera and a simple mirror, Swartz captures tender connections and the nuances of familial relationships.

Co-Portraits is a series of arresting family portraits incorporating elements of fragility, transformation, reflection, disorientation, and kinship familiar to her work. For this portfolio, Swartz asked families to choose a location in nature where they would want their photos taken. Her single directive was that they be playful with one another as one family member held a circular mirror. When Swartz shot the photographs, she positioned herself between the person holding the mirror and the rest of the group. From this central vantage point, she carefully receded into the background to capture fleeting interactions.

The resulting photographs reveal quiet moments of harmony, dissonance, and unconscious affection. Colors, lines, visages, and body parts melt into one another through gesture and light. Detail is lost and abstracted in some areas and preserved in others. Far from traditional or maudlin, the photographs do not capture the likenesses of a specific family. Instead, they locate and reveal magical moments of combination and the instinctive connection between partners, parents, and children—unconscious gestures and touch. The mirror acts as a literal and symbolic tool, allowing for the merging of bodies.

The Co-Portrait photos are poetic investigations of the private, and often complicated, relationships within a family unit. Swartz blurs individual autonomy by layering figures and playing with the depth of field. What appears to be a time lapse or montaged combination is, in fact, the integration of a family. Swartz’s camera lens reveals vivid color and dynamic positioning as well as inherent, private bonds.

Julianne Swartz received her MFA from Bard College and currently lives and works in Stone Ridge, NY. Her work has been widely exhibited in venues including the Tate Museum, Liverpool, England; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC (biennial exhibition 2004); the New Museum, NYC; The Jewish Museum, NYC; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, LIC, NY; SculptureCenter, LIC, NY; and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel. She is the recipient of the 2010 Academy Award in Art from the Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2008 Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, and a 2005 NYFA Fellowship in Sculpture. How Deep is Your, a retrospective of her work, opened at the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA in 2012 and traveled to the Contemporary Art Museum, Scottsdale, AZ (2013) and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN (2014). Upcoming projects include installations at Mass MOCA, North Adams, MA and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, AU.

For more information, please visit julianneswartz.com/

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