My art explores aging, agriculture, nature and science, the concepts of plenty and want, reuse, food systems, water, and being human through a variety of media including high-fired clay, artist books, events, growing, installation, found objects, social practice, textiles, and cast metal. Why (often but now always) corn? It is solidly Midwestern, like I am. I have found through the deep exploration of corn, more than its history and imagery, but the fundamentals of humanity itself.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born and raised Wisconsin – in a 130 yr old+stone house. Schwalbe came from a family of 9 children– most, comfortable using their hands. Chicago resident for nearly 40 years. Schwalbe completed a BFA with a sculpture concentration at UW Milwaukee in 1983. Took additional classes at Artist Bookworks, Columbia College for the Book and Paper Arts, Lillstreet Art Center, and Chicago Industrial Arts and Design Center. Schwalbe’s capability to work part time as a Recreation Therapist/Consultant, in 1998, following graduate coursework in Recreation Therapy, aided in her ability to create a more solid art practice. As with many, Schwalbe will be shifting her life and reorganizing priorities in a post(ish) pandemic world, and putting both feet into her art practice. Schwalbe is a maker of objects and creator of experiences that may include mixed media, sculpture, found objects, bronze & iron, installation & site specific works all centered around issues and aesthetics related to food systems, water, agriculture, and being human. Schwalbe has Haptic Studios for more mixed media works and has been a long time member of Lillstreet Studios at Lillstreet Art Center, though she believes art happens where the artist is. She teaches a class in the Summer at Lillstreet called The Art of Food – the class evolves every year based on a theme related to food, art, and connection. Schwalbe’s social practice works have been born out of the need and comfort with engaging people, and understood (now) as an overlap with her recreation therapy practice. Schwalbe adheres to the Fluxus philosophy: “The distinction between Art and Life is irrelevant.”
© Catherine Schwalbe