Tari Swenson has been using words as visual images since 1977.
A self-taught calligrapher and painter, Tari continues to explore the boundaries of language and writing. Her interest in written language as a simultaneously visual and cognitive experience leads her to cross cultures and mediums as she examines the meaning of written communication itself.
Originally drawn to historical illuminated manuscripts, Tari's understanding of classical letterforms led to her interest in Asian brush. The freedom of the brushstrokes combined with the skill of calligraphy evolved into painting- a peaceful joining of the two. The simplicity and line borne of this symbiosis permeates her works whether on paper, canvas, or in stone. It is through a visual elegance, with simplicity at its core, that Tari seeks to connect with the viewer.
While seeking to communicate strongly and simply, the words themselves are sometimes illegible, yet understood. A single brush stroke on rice paper is enough to invoke serenity, passion, or simplicity. In the same way, words carefully incised in a granite column entice the viewer to spend time reading and perceiving.
Swenson's recent work stems from a fascination with large brush strokes. The brush, ink and writing surface are always in concert with each other. The fluidity of the ink allows the brush to literally dance...a graceful duet with smooth paper, a spontaneous splash with rice paper, or brushy on rough textured surfaces. In all her work, there is freedom and detachment from rules and conventions.
Tari has been a consistent contributor to Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, Vermont, for over 20 years. Her work resides in private collections and public venues across the United States.
Collaborative work with partner/sculptor Chris Curtis has been commissioned by the Medical Center of the University of Arkansas, the Department of Public Works in Burlington, Vermont, and the central display fountain in the lobby of the New York State United Teachers Union afdsbuilding in Albany, New York.