Marilu Swett

Marilu SwettMarilu Swett makes work in the dual areas of sculpture and drawing. Her work reflects her interest in biological form, its volume, complexity and variety and the ways we interrogate it. She indicates this in a general and fanciful way, by abstracting, inventing, and overlapping relationships to indicate space and slow movement. The work remains abstract, but merges the layered space of her ink drawings with the factual space occupied by sculpture. References include natural systems and subsystems, microscopic form, telluric and oceanic form, images from the human body, and industrial artifacts. Recently, Swett has been looking at the ocean as site of evolution, human industry, and watery companionship. Seaforms of all scales appear, evolve, and dive beneath the surface. Themes from 19th century whaling and fishing show up in her choice of material, hardware, and pattern. Pieces evoke the leisure time activities of scrimshaw and textile embellishment and the hard labor of fishing and whaling, directly and indirectly. The profound experience of being in and on the water, and walking its shores, drives her new work.
Any creeping references to benthic inhabitants are to be blamed on her husband, an environmental scientist and segmented worm enthusiast, and his acolyte, their son Jonah. Marilu Swett, a greater Boston native, lives and works in Jamaica Plain, MA.
She holds a BFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art. She has exhibited widely in the U.S., and has work in corporate collections in Massachusetts at Bank of America Corporation; Fidelity Investments, Boston; Siena Construction Company, Cambridge; New England Biolabs, Beverly; Meditech Corporation, Canton and the the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Swett is a recipient of a grant for First Light, for a sculptural installation, Brookline, MA (2008); a residency for iron casting at the Maryhill Art Museum in Washington (2002); a New England foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture (1997); a Somerville Arts Council general support grant (1990); and a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Studio Exchange grant (1986). She is an Associate Professor of Art at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.

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