Beth Ames Swartz: Valley artist has a long and storied career
By Nicole Royse
Renowned Paradise Valley artist Beth Ames Swartz has been creating amazing paintings for 55 years. Her artwork reflects a reverence for the natural world, while expressing her interest in the spiritual.
Swartz creates her art in series, exploring systems of knowledge and translating them into visual experiences by showing the interconnectedness of one belief system to another, hoping that each of us may experience a common compassion.
Swartz explains that she explores systems of knowledge by translating philosophical concepts into aesthetic visual experiences. Swartz’s work is influenced by philosophical systems such as Carl Jung, Alan Watts, Native American cultures, and the Cabala. She demonstrates a highly developed sense of color and texture, employing a variety of imagery, gestural marks, shapes, and words throughout her artwork.
She attended Cornell and studied art education at NYU. Swartz also received lessons at the Art Students League. She began her artistic career after moving from New York City to Arizona. Feeling a bit displaced with her new environment helped to fuel her early artistic endeavors. Her illustrious career has included over 80 solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, three major traveling museum exhibitions, and numerous awards including the prestigious Arizona Governor’s Individual Artist Award in 2001 and others.
Her artwork can be found in many public and private collections including the National Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Swartz is currently represented by ACA Galleries in New York.
A recently completed documentary-style short film entitled Beth Ames Swartz: Reminders of Invisible Light, spanning 29-minutes in length, was recently produced by Odyssey Films. It has not yet been released but will be shown on Arizona PBS sometime in 2017.
Currently Swartz’s work can be seen at the newly renovated Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, a historic former synagogue and church that now serves the community as a museum, cultural center, and event venue. Her latest exhibition is titled Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) featuring works from several seminal series that span over 50 years, many from the artist’s own collection and selected by guest curator, Robert Pela. Each series underscores the philosophical, human, and environmental concerns of the artist rather then a specific visual style.
Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) will be on display through Jan. 21, 2017. The gallery will be open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon until 3 p.m., in addition to the First and Third Friday of each month from 6:30 p.m. until 9 pm and by appointment. The Arizona Jewish Historical Society owns and operates the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, which is located at 122 E. Culver St., Phoenix. For more information about this exhibition, visit azjhs.org. For more information about the talented artist Beth Ames Swartz, visit bethamesswartz.com.
Current Exhibitions at the Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum
Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum (SMoCA) is currently featuring two new exhibitions including Push Comes to Shove: Women and Power and The Architecture + Art: Everything Falls into Place When It Collapses. Push Comes to Shove: Women and Power is a collaboration between SMoCA and ASU Intermedia Professor Muriel Magenta, Ph.D., and runs until Jan. 8, 2017. The exhibit features 19 artists whose works deal with the themes and issues of how women exercise and think about power. The Architecture + Art: Everything Falls into Place When It Collapses is from Mexico City-based artist Santiago Borja and is a site-specific project in response to the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument that runs until Jan. 22, 2017. For more information, visit smoca.org.
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