C21st Folly References

'C21 Folly' 
Julie Swan 2013
terracotta/ironoxide/copper and gold patina
h.82cm x w.36cm



These works are an exploration on the theme of false presentation.
I particularly wanted to explore the phenomena of 'public talk'
I wanted to express what I see as a broad cultural disconnection from the earth and the environment.
I also wanted to express what I imagine is a sense of fear and loss of 'self power' that many of us feel today.


I often think that we are 'like animals caught in the headlights of an on-coming car'. Our response is often to remain still or freeze and hope that the car passes without inflicting injury.  Some would even deny the power of the car.  Some would stand and challenge it's potential.


These figures are opposing.
The first shows fear of expressing opinion.  An avoidance of personal belief system.  The second shows inflexibility of opinion and insensitive judgement. There is a superficiality and disingenuous presentation in both figures.  Both demonstrate levels of reliance on the public face.

Julie Swan 2014
ceramic / perspex /mixed media
h.78cm x w.33cm x d.27cm.  SOLD


 We are led to believe that man has 'dominion' over nature And God blessed them, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth'. Genesis' and yet our actions suggest a disconnect from this responsibility. We need to find a balance between care for our environment and uncontrolled 'technical advancement'. I chose to represent this figure in clay, a natural material. It is symbolic of our humanity and our connection to earth. The figure suggests aspects of physicality. the stance is strong and confident. There is however a sense of discomfort. The clothing is restrictive. The figure appears to be constrained within the garment of it's own making. It appears to be mesmerised by a shape that represents potential. The form is symbolic in intent. It reminds me of our distraction by mobile phones. There appears to be worlds within worlds and yet reality is questioned. The figure's face has lost it's detail. A finger holds a button within a square. The other hand rests behind the back and the middle finger is raised and poised above a bee. 

 We are fascinated by our ability to create, decorate and manipulate our world and its resources and yet the consequences of greed and mindless progress create imbalance.


Julie Swan 2011


h.68cm x w.44cm SOLD


In this work I have used the imagery of the Jester or fool to explore areas of living that I think are the most challenging aspect of what it is to live life as an 'artist'.

How often do we as practitioners try to capture an inspired idea? .. .we jump in ..  we commit ..

we try to re-create the 'original' spark ..  we think ..  we judge ..  we lose our way .. we then feel a sense of sadness .. we have failed to capture the original vision.  More often than not we then accept the work 'with a laugh' but somehow we feel defeated, we did not quite get there.

Age or ill health catches up with us and the artist knows that more time will be needed .. but the body or our chosen field of practice has let us down and instinctively we know that we will not get there.  

If only we could recognise our inherent 'flawed humanity'.  When we 'fall from pure infinite potential into commitment, because creation is commitment, whether in writing, or a painting or composing a piece of music, it is our commitment to a particular action that is the voluntary limiting of ourselves' ..  but we still keep trying and you've gotta love that.