Carolyn Swiszcz ’94
As a young and early MCAD student, painter and video-maker Carolyn Swiszcz first met classmate Mark Mallman, who impulsively picked up her guitar and ripped into the Talking Heads Psycho Killer. Stunned by his gifts and intensity, she happily sold him the guitar and gave up her pathetic musical ambitions.
But she didn't lack for inspirations of her own. Drawn to urban or suburban settings that just barely qualify as architecture, she pictures the banality of a strip mall or forlorn pet store with calculated notes of comical bleakness these places are empty and even hopeless, and yet she has an attitude about them, and it might even be called empathy. Critics and collectors (including Microsoft and the Minnesota Historical Society) recognize her gifts, but they might not also know of her loyalty to West St. Paul, her chosen home since marriage and motherhood. They probably also don't know she once made a really good large portrait of a glazed chocolate doughnut.
Swiszcz who has other avocations and professions beyond the painting blithely walks a tightrope between despair and ridicule of her subjects. She has worked as a costumed tour guide, and loves history, and her images prove that, whatever the task, shes pointing out places of interest.