Born 1974, San Remo, Victoria. Lives and works Los Angeles, United States.
Ricky Swallow is best known for sculptural works combining contemporary imagery with the still-life tradition. Swallow has also consistently maintained a watercolour practice throughout his career. His current bronze works extend this practice while reflecting the more recent influences of twentieth-century design, studio ceramics and the inventiveness of folk art. This interest is informed by the time the artist spends in flea markets in his home city of Los Angeles, encountering ‘make-dos’. These are antiques which have been ‘creatively repaired or adapted – given an extended life rather than being discarded’. Swallow is also interested in other forms of folk art, stating that the ‘economy of labour and materials toward something that’s a translation of a traditional object, a replacement of its former self, is something I love’.
Swallow’s work is regularly included in solo and group exhibitions internationally. He represented Australia in the 2005 Venice Biennale with the work This time another year. In 2009–10 the Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne exhibited recent sculptures and watercolours by the artist in the exhibition Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur. Other solo exhibitions include Ricky Swallow, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London (2013); Ricky Swallow, Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles (2012); Younger than Yesterday, Kunsthalle Vienna, Vienna (2007); and Ricky Swallow, PS1/Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006).
Recent group exhibitions include Made in LA, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); A Personal Choice, Galleria Il Capricorno, Venice (2013); The Mystery Trend, Wallspace, New York (2012); I Do This, I Do That – Joe Bradley & Ricky Swallow, The Taut and The Tame, Berlin (2011); Almanac: The Gift Of Ann Lewis AO, MCA, Sydney (2010); Lost & Found: An Archaeology of The Present, Tarrawarra Biennial, Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria (2008); Effigies, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London (2007); and Getting Emotional, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2005).
Swallow’s work is held in many public and private collections in Australia and internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.