Ena Swansea
The Delight of Painting

313 Art Project

January 9, 2013

10 January–20 February 2013
Opening: 10 January, 17–19h

313 Art Project
313 Dosan-Daero, Gangnam-gu
Seoul, Korea, 135-895
Hours: Monday 14–18h, Tuesday–Saturday 11–18h

T 82 2 3446 3137
F 82 2 3445 3137
313artproject [​at​] gmail.com


313 Art Project, Seoul is delighted to announce Ena Swansea’s first solo show in Asia. This show is a selection of 15 of Swansea’s most recent paintings. Many of the paintings in this show are involved with the outside world, especially the changing light of the sky. Many of her works in this show are seascape or haystack paintings. Swansea shows an excellent and unique way of representing the setting sun which lights up the sea and the light of the full moon on haystacks in a field. 

The ‘backlit waves’ seascape series is about the moment when the sun goes down, or comes up, from the sea, and for a minute or two, the water of the waves is lit from behind. This makes odd colors such as weird greens and deep purple shadows. Her haystacks seem to resemble massive blocks, portraying a ‘curtain wall,’ with a glimpse of daylight slicing through the structure. They appear to reverberate through high modernism. This exhibition presents paintings of people where the light of a face is another form of a celestial object. Thus, by showing different images of her work in this show, 313 Art Project generates an electricity across the rooms in the space.

Ena Swansea (b. 1966, US) was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is currently living in New York City. She has been working on figurative paintings since early 2000s. During this era, Ena represents the importance of figurative paintings. Her paintings have been described as being “slow” paintings, in the sense that they can be hard to see at first, and it takes a bit of time to capture the whole picture. She is bringing our contemporary life and everyday elements to a composition, but there is a conceptual framework behind her figurative images. 

Painter Luc Tuymans commented on Ena’s paintings, stating “Like Dürer’s drawings, her works look as if they had corroded through time.” The secret of Swansea’s works lies in her unique way of using materials. She grounds her canvases with graphite before painting on them in oils. Working on the graphite is poetic because of the idea that our planet is also carbon-based as the graphite is. She shows the dual quality of the graphite that absorbs and reflects light at the same time.

Ena Swansea’s works have been exhibited internationally through solo exhibitions at Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg (2012); ARNDT Berlin/New York (2011); The Armory Show, New York (2010, 2006); Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (2008); Arndt & Partner, Zurich (2008); Galerie Crone/Andreas Osarek, Berlin (2005); Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Inc., New York (2004, 2003); Mario Diacono Gallery at Ars Libri, Boston (2004); and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia (2002).

Her paintings have also appeared in important group exhibitions such as Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2005), and The Triumph of Painting part 3, Saatchi Gallery, London (2006). Other group exhibitions were at FLAG Foundation, New York (2011); Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2009); Kunsthalle Vienna / Villa Stuck Munich / Kunsthalle Kiel (2008); Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal (2007); and Contemporary Art Galleries, University of Connecticut (2006). Swansea’s work is included in many prominent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden; Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg; and the Olbricht Collection, Berlin.

313 Art Project, Seoul is a renowned contemporary art gallery in Seoul, Korea. Located in the center of Seoul’s nouveau art hub, 313 Art Project has introduced prominent oeuvres of important contemporary artists to the Korean art audience.