Artist Statement and Bio
Sometimes I make art to express an idea and sometimes the work forces me to admit something I have been trying to ignore.
I know that the natural world is connected to the socio-political realities of my time. Nature is not just something to be looked at and admired. It is a place to live and work. The natural world has existed for millennia, and human tenure is, in comparison, insignificant.
My recently completed body of work, Landscape as a Marker of Time explores the contrast between personal time and ecological time. I began with the idea of exploring my sense of separation from the beauty of nature. Instead, the work became a documentation of my unwilling acceptance that an environmental disaster is looming. I am both the perpetrator and the victim. In the work I compare the many ephemeral moments that exist in one human life with the time it has taken to reach the alarming environmental disaster unfolding before my eyes.
I find myself wondering how extinction might play out. Will everything disappear? Will the natural world endure, establishing a new kind of balance. And with this knowledge how do I move forward?
Deciding to paint the landscape during the Anthropocene is complicated. The natural world is at the nexus of political forces, fuel economics, and indigenous rights. Living where I do, on the edge of the continent, the separation between the magnificence of nature and the human made world is not clear cut. The paintings in Landscapes as a Marker in Time document a transition in my thinking and I now begin of a new body of work reflecting on the beauty of the landscape on the precipice.
“To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Treaty One Territory) Trish Shwart is currently living and working as an uninvited guest in Victoria, British Columbia (Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Territories). She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor in Interior Design (Gold Medal) and has a Diploma in Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Helen Pitt Graduate Award). From 2019-21 she participated in a two-year Turps Banana Correspondence Program (London UK), an online artist mentorship program focused solely on the discourse within contemporary painting. Her work has been in solo and group exhibitions nationally.
Shwart curated a group show in the Vertical Gallery at Open Space in Victoria asking whether art lives in a particular context or if it can be anywhere . She has participated in artist residencies in Banff, Alberta and was a visiting artist at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.
Between 2019 and 2022 Shwart participated in 3 two-person shows exploring the collaborative process to examine how collaboration can influence and shift the work of each artist. With the long landscape paintings, Shwart incorporates the lessons about trust and risk gained from those experiences.