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the gibbes museum of art
Portrait of the artist by MCG Photography

Jen Swearington

February 22, 2021 - April 3, 2021


Jen Swearington grew up in rural Indiana across the road from a horse stable and next to a 30-acre Christmas tree farm, drawing and coloring as long as she can remember. Mentored by her artist aunt Kelly Hoernig, Jen knew by the age of twelve that she wanted to become an artist. She studied fine art and art history, earning a BFA from Pratt Institute in 1997 and an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2000, then spent one year as an Artist-in-Residence at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

Early in her career, she focused on creating fine art: mixed media paintings, quilts, and small works on playing cards. When she started sewing original apparel pieces and printing her illustrations on them, they became her Jennythreads line of handmade apparel and accessories. Through this work, she has consistently made an independent, artistic living for over seventeen years. In 2013, her comprehensive how-to book Printing on Fabric: Techniques with Screens, Stencils, Inks and Dyes was published by Lark Crafts.

Beginning spring of 2018, in search of inspiration and adventure, Jen traveled to more than a dozen countries for several month-long international artist residencies in Bulgaria, Mexico, Finland, and Greece. On these adventures she has filled sketchbooks with drawings as well as created “Homeward,” her ongoing series of carousel pop-up books and “Shadow house” architectural papercut sculptures.

While in residence at the Gibbes Museum, Swearington will continue her series of Shadow Houses and carousel pop-up books, each created in five panels times four layers of original illustrations and papercuts encased within painterly, collage book covers. Each pop-up book illustrates wondrous scenes in the artist’s adventurous life.

Public Studio Hours

Wednesday 11 am - 3 pm

Friday 11 am - 3 pm

Saturday 12 - 5 pm

The Gibbes Visiting Artist Series complements our exhibition program and promotes creativity, new art forms, and offers perspective on larger community issues. The program features contemporary artists whose work contributes to a new understanding of art in the South.

Support for our Visiting Artist Series is generously provided by Art Bridges, Art Mag, SC Arts Commission, and the Henry and Sylvia Yaschik Foundation.