Tom Swanston

The visual and spiritual coalesce in my surroundings, from which I draw much of my inspiration. For the past 25 years I’ve lived and worked in South Fulton county and have come to know well its history, creeks, and ravines. Seasons change in a profound manner—twice yearly, migrating sandhill cranes rest in the thermal that rises directly overhead. In this mystical setting, my favorite time of the day is sunset, when what you know to be true is evoked but not seen. It is that frame of mind that I capture — the twilight between observation and imagination.

My work is the end result of an omnivorous search for meaning. It emerges from the love of many seemingly disparate elements, including the history, processes, and materials of art making; Nature with a capital “N”, then, with a small “n”; an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to color; classic Haiku; the comical of shapes and things paradoxical; Technologies old and new; the spirituality of the natural world, and close observation of simple things come together to form the conceptual underpinnings of my work.

In my current body of paintings, the overarching theme of migration carries a multitude of connotations; most notably, migration speaks to the mystical movement through space and time, from one location to another and the ultimate return home. The recurring patterns of sandhill crane migrations remind us of nature’s ability to renew and revive itself, rhythmically changing, yet remaining stable and consistent through the seasons. Such is also the human life, changing with each year and each generation. Like migratory birds, physical and spiritual travelers alike explore new or familiar places, always to return to the one special locale that they call “home.” In their seasonal trips from North to South and then back, and in their victorious return from near extinction back into the cycle of life, sandhill cranes remind the viewer that all journeys have a purpose and an end, no matter how long they might be or how far away from home they may take us.

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