|SCULPTURE | N. SWEARER|
It has been suggested that Nicholas Swearer's humans should fall under the category of "Beasts." He agrees that humans can behave far more beastly than any other creature but thinks that it would be unfair to the animals to group them as such. He does, however, humanize his animals, as many of us do with our dogs and cats.
His beasts range from the very playful, as with "Liz" the giant dragon that was created as a play-scape for children, to social observation, as depicted in "Rat Race." A sense of humor is the main element behind his beasts and in this they differ greatly from his humans.
Over the past forty years, Swearer's beasts have changed with his moods and interests. Sometimes a simple observation can drive a complex sculpture. For example, he noticed that a railroad spike head made a good lizard scale and ended up with a forty-foot long iguana. At other times it is an investigation of the interactions of the formal elements of art - line, shape, texture, form, etc. "Seascape" is such an example. It is an ongoing exploration of the use of line that has grown into a child's tale of lost love.
The first of Swearer's beasts were fabricated or assembled from found metal. Today they are of cast bronze, fabricated metal, or often a combination of the two.Swearer has many projects in play and is often working on beasts and humans at the same time. In this way they often play off each other and this has led him in the direction of animalizing his humans. As an example, he is currently working on apiece titled "Pigheaded." Perhaps he will have to catalog "Humans" and "Beasts" together, after all.