Cowboys of Color – Swain & Shields

Robert Swain
Alan Shields, Everybody Knows Korolowitz, 1976. Acrylic, canvas, aluminum tubing, and thread, 120 x 196 x 196 inches.
Alan Shields ,Whirling Dervish (1968-70) Acrylic, thread, and beads on canvas

Robert Swain and Alan Shields were some groovy colorful dudes! Both natives of the Midwest who ended up on the New York scene of the 1960’s.  Although they made their color rich works in the 1960-70’s they feel very fresh and contemporary.  Swain, born 1940 in Austin, Texas is a professor of painting at Hunter College has been working on his gigantic color chart paintings for decades.  Made with more of an intuitive/scientific approach he has categorized the colors he has developed through mixing acrylic paints into a filing cabinet system of over 4,000 hues!  He is just now getting some much deserved appreciation for his work.

On another note, hippie artists Alan Shields (1944-2005, born in Kansas ) captures the spirit of the generation his work came out of with its whimsical and gypsy-like manner.  His technique involved painting, cutting, sewing, and even beading the canvas into dimensional paintings, collages, prints and installations.  Shields work was far ahead and reminiscent of the current era of installation art that came after it.  I am especially fascinated by the faceted form that is similar to ideas I am exploring in my own MFA body of of work.