Location: United States
Mireille SWINNEN is Belgian by nationality but has lived abroad all her adult life. She currently lives in Los Angeles but dedicates a minimum of three months a year to her studio in Belgium where she runs a mosaic studio since 2006. Every year, Mireille organizes exhibitions and international workshops in Venice, Spilimbergo, Rome or France (Paray-le-Monial) and California bringing much-needed foreign exposure and new techniques to her most dedicated students.
Over the past few years, Mireille has specialized in animal and human portraits in the preferred medium of her choice, smalti. Her work has been selected for various shows and exhibits, SAMA Chicago, SAMA Seattle, the yearly exhibit in Paray-le-Monial and multiple private exhibitions. On the basis her latest body of work, Mireille was appointed as the 2014 Artist in Residence at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, a promise of new skills and possibilities which she hopes to incorporate in her future mosaics.
CMA (members only): http://mosaicsandceramics.ning.com/profile/MireilleSwinnenMozaiekstudio
Own website: www.belka.homestead.com
Email address: email@example.com
I sculpt, I dream, I arrange, I build,
I sort, cut, glue, visualize
I interpret, I paint
Maybe I am a painter or a sculptor, but I chose smalti over paint to be my medium of expression.
I create colourful scenes, little stories that can be captured at the blink of an eye. They evoke a feeling, an emotion, a moment of standing still in time. An atmosphere of coziness, joy, pleasant surprise, knowing, understanding. I want the viewer to feel connected to the subject, to sympathize, to ponder, to smile.
Stepping up close and stepping back the image shifts between a jumble of shapes and colors to a realistic image, which almost moves. Close up, the material demands all the attention. It is hard not to contemplate its texture, irregularity, roughness, shininess, opacity. From far, only the flutter remains.
I am attracted to the beauty of the matter itself, the preciousness of it, the generations of skills that were needed to create this raw material which is smalti. Like no other it allows me to transl(iter)ate my thoughts and emotions. Like no other it empowers me to grab the viewer’s attention and to convey –be it simple- emotions.
In the main, abstraction within contemporary mosaic art equates to the creation of texture and pattern which results in many mosaic artists ignoring the aesthetic possibilities that high levels of abstraction within figurative art have to offer. This is not the case in Mireille Swinnen's L'Arte di Volare, a piece in which the level of abstraction is reminiscent of that which we find in early abstract art.
Within this piece, the cutting and andamenti used within the bird are skilfully replicated by Swinnen within the background to accentuate the sense of movement as the bird is about to take flight.
A confident use of colour and a calculated introduction of light throughout the composition create a great sense of depth and movement. The intensity and beauty shown within the bird's tonal progression is matched by the stunning way in which the textures created to portray the bark in the branch increases the sense of depth in the composition.