Shwetz’s paintings are comments on our environmental state and glimpses of a post-anthropocene world; the atmosphere is uninhabitable for humans, only vegetal life and geological forms adapt and flourish in the torrid air. This world is a not so distant future, an alternative planet, or a computer simulation, where a new narrative is dawning and often the only figure in the landscape is the viewer. The artist sources reference material from constructed environments such as conservatories, botanical gardens, and scientific dioramas, as opposed to working from the “natural nature” found in parks, forests, or the wilderness. By working from photographs and sketches of constructed spaces versus completely natural environments, she makes paintings of alternative landscapes, where the space and foliage is familiar yet estranged, recognizable, but not quite right. These paintings take on a theatrical cast; they hold the charge of a transgression that has just occurred, or set the stage for an event or action that is about to take place.
Kelsey Shwetz is a Canadian born painter who lives and works in New York. She is currently an MFA Visual Arts candidate (2022) at Columbia University and has been a guest lecturer at UCLA, Pratt Institute, and Laguardia Community College. Shwetz has exhibited in New York, Miami, Germany, Slovakia, Toronto, and Montreal. She was awarded fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center, Columbia University, and CanSerrat Residency in Barcelona and grants from Canada Council for the Arts, The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, and the Mayer Foundation. Her most recent solo exhibition was at Brethren Gallery in New York in 2018.