Cross Purposes

December 2, 2016-February 12, 2017
Curated by Bill Swislow and Rich Bowen

Stanley Szwarc, a Polish book keeper turned metal worker and then artist after arriving in the United States, gave no indication of being particularly religious, but, in his world, crosses were powerful. A prolific creator of objects from scrap stainless steel, always demonstrating over-the-top imagination, Szwarc made hundreds of crosses, if not thousands. He produced jewelry, he made crosses to be hung on the wall, and he crafted cruciform objects with no apparent use other than to be carriers of his endless combinations of geometric shapes. If you were lucky to see Szwarc late in the year, you also could acquire snowflakes, some small enough to hang on a tree, some that required serious wall space. All of it, crosses and snowflakes alike, ornamented out of a vision that seemed as obscure to Szwarc as it was beloved to those who followed his work.

"I have never considered myself an artist," he said. "I'm just a clever handyman."

Szwarc’s greatest point of pride was that no two of his objects, be they crosses, vases, boxes or snowflakes, were alike. The evidence plainly supports that contention while demonstrating a virtuosic artistic vision that could not contain itself, always seeking fascinating ways to vary the ornamentation, to create objects of surprise, delight and striking beauty.