Rob Swainston: Propositions

Rob Swainston: Propositions
September 7 – October 16, 2010

David Krut Projects is delighted to present Propositions, a solo show by New York based artist, Rob Swainston. In this new series of 38 mixed-media works, Rob Swainston merges traditional printmaking processes—such as lithography, woodcut, and silkscreen—with digital photography and printing to create a torrent of visual information and energy, all compressed into uniform 24” x 32” x 1” boxes.

Initiated as an open-ended project in 2008, Swainston’s proposition boxes were first limited by a defined paper size (22″ x 30”) and the material recycling of previous large-scale print-based installations. Inspired by Rauschenberg’s “combines” and Deluzian architectural theory, Swainton’s exploratory process of mixing, matching, printing, and overprinting generated new visual components, which were re-sampled and re-contextualized into existing compositions. Central to the artist’s working process is the constant mediation, recycling, and cannibalization of his own printed imagery and ideas as a means to address the use, repetition, manipulation, and ultimate dissolution of the social image.

Swainston finds printmaking uniquely situated to address the ways in which historical, political, and cultural factors contribute to how we experience and understand images in our society. In its ability to disseminate information quickly and cheaply, the printed image—historically understood to be the most democratic medium—not only threatens the impact of other mediums, but also, according to Swainston, “has the power to subsume all forms of knowledge and discourse.”

Mimicking biological and social processes in which the urgency of recombination is a matter of survival, Swainston’s Propositions investigates the simultaneous desire to rebuild and destroy. Like organisms or institutions, these “recombinant” visual systems are forced to reconcile with the unexpected consequences of their past in order to come to terms with their present identity.


Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Rob made his first relief print, “Hippopotamus,” at age five. He studied art and political science at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, and subsequently lived and worked in Central Europe, pursuing postgraduate studies in political science at Budapest’s Central European University. He received his MFA from Columbia University in 2006 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. Rob is a cofounder and master printer of Prints of Darkness, a collaborative printmaking studio in Brooklyn, NY. He has also worked as a master printer and taught printmaking at Columbia University. Rob is an alumnus of the Philadelphia art collective Vox Populi. He lives and works in New York City, where he recently participated in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Program.

Exhibition Images

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