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Modern Times Presents Foundations by Charlotte Swiden


After a 10-year hiatus, Charlotte Swiden has returned to painting with her exhibition Foundations, opening at Modern Times on Thursday 27th February. Charlotte’s disciplined approach to composition and colour, honed as a graphic designer, has transmuted into something softer and closer to nature – a series of abstract paintings that pulsate with motifs of plants, primitive figures and intimations of landscape, rendered in a muted earthen palette. 

Charlotte grew up in Sweden, moving to Australia in 2005, and describes her work as an interplay of these two identities, two cultures and the tension that lies between the two. “Some of the themes in my works are stories around that identity split. Some are around nostalgia from home; being immersed in nature, a community and a solid social infrastructure.”

The mood of each painting shifts along a scale of emotion. The artworks I've picked out to share are some of my favourites from the beautiful body of work. I especially love the softer muted tones, and rounded abstract figures such as Midnight Sun (above), and Mother Moon (below). 

Modernist painters are an influence which permeates Charlotte's work, most notably in the reductionist abstraction and fragmented overlaying representations of figure and object. Charlotte describes a seminal experience at the Picasso museum in Paris as a high-school student, “(it) blew my mind. After I’d been there I felt like I could never have an art experience like that again and I still feel the same.” 
Charlotte describes Foundations as returning home and letting her inner voice resurface. 

"It’s a journal of human behaviour, roots, new leaves and a longing for nature. After I had my second child I started collaging and painting again and I took my practice back to my foundations. Time became so precious, I needed to simplify and become more minimalistic in what I chose to do. Once I started painting again it was all so clear and easy. It was like I had an 800 page novel waiting inside, burning to escape. It was as if I had been living in an overly decorated house and a wild storm went through. When the wind calmed the walls had been stripped, you could see the bone structure, the starry sky and feel the sea breeze. And suddenly, there is more room for my own stories and my own language."  
— Charlotte Swiden 

After a career as a graphic designer and with her own line of distinctly Swedish inspired homewares - Swiden, this return to painting marks an exciting moment in Charlotte’s career trajectory. 

If you're in Melbourne, join Charlotte and the Modern Times team at the exhibition opening for a celebratory drink on Thursday 27th February between 6-8pm. 

The exhibition runs through to 8th March, with pre-sales opening 20th February.  

To find out more, or to download the catalogue, take a look here

Images courtesy of Modern Times 

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