Abstruction: The Sculpture of Erick Swenson

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    Erick Swenson (b. 1972). 'I Am What I Isn't,' 2017. Urethane resin, acrylic paint. Collection of Thomas De Nolf. Photo: Kevin Todora

March 01, 2018 - July 29, 2018
Honolulu Museum of Art • Henry R. Luce Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art


Exhibition Overview

The Honolulu Museum of Art presents the first major solo museum exhibition of Erick Swenson. Based in Dallas, Swenson creates labor-intensive sculptures from cast polyurethane resin. The degree of precision and detail necessary to create these works is truly awe-inspiring and a single sculpture can take up to two years to complete. 

But beyond the initial impressive display of skill and workmanship, lie complex ideas of history, the passage of time, and its effect on living beings. Creatures such as deer, snails, and humans, often depicted in death or distress, speak to the human condition of life as temporary and fleeting. These sculptures, however, capture not only the tragedy, but the complex beauty of nature. Swenson’s animals have undergone a transformation—into something that feels eternal, mystical, and universal.

This survey exhibition of 11 works includes two new sculptures, one of a hammerhead shark created expressly for the show that the museum has acquired. 

Swenson first received international exposure when his work was featured in the 2004 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Since then his works have been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Nasher Sculpture Center; UCLA/Hammer Museum of Art; Saatchi Gallery, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland. His works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

This exhibition is made possible with generous support from The Taiji and Naoko Family Foundation, Sharon Twigg-Smith, Tori Richard, Ltd., and an anonymous donor.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Hospitality sponsor: Halekulani