America as her canvas: Ena Swansea

America as her canvas: Ena Swansea

Even though snow days and winter may be behind us, a fantastic, wintery art opportunity is still allowing us to take our last breaths of winter. The Ben Brown Fine Arts Gallery in Mayfair is showing American artist Ena Swansea’s exhibition, Ena Swansea, until April 12. The exhibition is a display of the beauty of winter in America.

The beauty of winter is first seen through her painting, “stop sign,” which exemplifies the image of snow in suburban America. A tree-lined, quiet suburban intersection sits right at the center of the image, the ice on the street untouched by any car. Swansea manages to create a perfect image of what America, untouched by urbanization, is like during the wintertime: quiet, peaceful and beautiful. The rose-colored tint only manages to add another perspective of perfection to the image — it seems almost too perfect to be real with the pink trees leading across the painting, however, Swansea utilizes her artistic license beautifully.

“Stop sign”

“Scottish marching band” is a depiction of a marching band during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  Seeing it immediately took me back to the times when I would sit in the stands on Sixth Avenue with my father, watching the captivating floats and choreographed bands pass us by each Thanksgiving we lived in New York. I believe one of the greatest successes of Swansea’s exhibition is in the ability to connect with her viewers, through pieces that really appeal to a specific demographic. In this case, she is able to connect with New Yorkers on their traditions and culture.

“Scottish marching band”

One more piece that I believe really encapsulates the work of Swansea is “frozen creek.” She beautifully blends something that would seem so normal with the abnormal by combining a classic nature scene with unconventional colors. I believe that the inclusion of this piece in the exhibition really allows her to show the importance of creativity and artistic license when producing a piece on nature. So many times we see a conventional portrait of a nature scene and this was Swansea’s way of straying from that norm.

“Frozen creak”

The biggest success of Swansea’s work is her ability to connect with her viewers. While she is able to use American culture and lifestyle as her inspiration and a means to connect with her viewers, the individuality of her pieces can resonate with everyone. This exhibition allows me to understand the concept of home from the eyes of someone else and see it demonstrated through creative pieces. Swansea is able to perfectly demonstrate the importance of this concept through nature and through a societal identity.


Written by and photos by Culture Editor Quinn Whitman

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