Feb 212012

Gladys Swan recently showed her chops on NC with a gorgeous short story called “The Orange Bird” about a the process of learning to paint, to become an artist. The story is deftly comic and yet magical and limns the mysterious underground processes by which the work itself can transform the craftsman into an artist. So it seemed only fitting that we should also look at some of Gladys Swan’s paintings. These are mostly oils on paper 22′ by 30′ or small oils on canvas or linen, 8′ x 10′. Also one water color. The painting “Movements of Horses and Men” is in the 33rd annual exhibit of Paper in Particular, at Columbia College in Columbia, MO. Entries come from around the country and are judged by an outside judge. This is Gladys’s first national show. It opened February 8th.

A writer for most of her career, Gladys Swan has had a long love affair with the visual arts. She has done work in both ceramics and enjoys doing both figurative and abstract paintings. She was the first writer to be awarded a residency in painting at the Vermont Studio Center since its inception, and has returned a number of times to paint. She has also been a Guest Writer there. She has had individual shows at the Boone County Historical Society in Columbia, Missouri–“Imagined Landscapes,” and at Stephens College, “Paintings, Pottery, Poetry.” Several of her paintings have been published in or used as cover art for literary magazines, for three of her books, and for books by other writers.

Author photo by Gerik Parmele,  Columbia Daily Tribune.


A Map of the InvisibleA Map of the Invisible


Movements of Horses and Men  jpgMovements of Horses and Men


Color StoryColor Story


Tree Spaces  1  jpgTree Spaces 1


Tree Spaces 2 Tree Spaces 2

—Gladys Swan


Gladys Swan is both a writer and a visual artist.  She has published two novels, Carnival for the Gods in the Vintage Contemporaries Series, and Ghost Dance: A Play of Voices, nominated by LSU Press for the PEN Faulkner and PEN West awards. News from the Volcano, a novella and stories, set mostly in New Mexico, was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award.  The Tiger’s Eye: New & Selected Stories is the most recent of her seven collections of short fiction and has been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award.  Her stories have been selected for various anthologies, including Best of the West.  Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in the Sewanee Review, Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review , Chelsea, Ohio Review, New Letters, Southwest Review, Hunger Mountain, Hotel Amerika, Numéro Cinq, and others.

  4 Responses to “A Map of the Invisible: Paintings — Gladys Swan”

  1. I love the play of pattern, colour and space in these!

  2. What a great opportunity to see these beautiful works from such an accomplished artist. Thanks for bringing to NC!

  3. Gladys Swan has been a great inspiration and great teacher — she is a multi-artist, producing great novels, short stories, essays, poetry, paintings, even pottery. She is a master of the imagination and how it processes experience. I salute Gladys Swan and I salute Joyce Townsend for interviewing Gladys and Numéro Cinq for publishing the interview and this selection of Gladys Swan’s recent art!

  4. Just gorgeous, Gladys.

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