Every Bug I Own III | Oil, Acrylic, Pencil, & Pastel on Canvas | 60" x 60" | 2014


Artist Statement: Carcasses of household pests assemble around baseboards, corners, and windowsills. Closer inspection unveils a busy landscape dotted with figures and debris. Sarah Swist observes this mess of detached limbs, armored shells, and tattered wings as if it is large crowd of moving people. It is grotesque and silly simultaneously—these tiny foreign bodies exerting themselves as substitutes for human flesh. In the horde, unrecognizable anatomical segments form kaleidoscope scenes. Delicate and intricate pieces coexist to act as a single beautiful mass of organic matter. There isn’t a precious still life, but rather, constantly evolving subject matter that feels alive. Vibrant, magnificent piles of paint reveal forms strained by age and death.


Sarah Swist received her BFA in drawing and painting from Western Illinois University in 2011. At Penn State University, where she earned her MFA in 2014, she was the recipient of the Fund for Excellence in Graduate Recruitment Award and the Creative Achievement Award. Swist has lived and maintained her studio practice in California, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Her paintings have been shown in exhibitions throughout country. She recently moved to Corpus Christi, Texas and is setting up a new studio for a project titled “Bubblegum & Whiskey.” She can be found online at: saraheswist.com.