Adam Swica Placeholders

Adam Swica’s analogical, studio-constructed photographs investigate the volumetric geometry of light. The Placeholders series transforms historical constellation patterns into dimensional image fields, where simple line drawings are projected into a particulate atmosphere, essentially a container for light, and captured by the recursive lens. Interested in how the naming of constellations essentially converts abstract arrays into recognizable forms, Swica returns these simple pictograms back to the threshold of abstraction, creating ethereal vector projections. Working with a range of constellation subjects, Swica plots the lines between his celestial coordinates and then reverses them out of the projected surface to form the outline of the light object itself. Using long exposure times and multiple exposures, Swica captures evidence of light in transit—the permeation of light through space and time—revealing an abstracted image of his constellation’s proportions in a volume of otherworldliness. This “materializing” of light alludes to early astronomy, where points of light were perceived through time and over distance, connecting the planet to the larger universe, with the constellations attempting to fix a sense of place. Swica’s luminous projections suspend what must have been that original sense of wonder.

Adam Swica graduated from The Ontario College of Art (1977), specializing in Experimental Arts and Photography. He was a founding member of The Funnel film collective (1977–82) in Toronto. He pursued a career as a cinematographer, working with many noted directors, including George Romero, George Hickenlooper, Peter Lynch, and Jonathan Sobol. His photographic work has appeared in Impulse Magazine and Prefix Photo (cover). Recent exhibitions include Somewhere (2020); Placeholders (2019), and Free Assembly, with Christine Davis and Vlad Lunin (2017), at Christie Contemporary. His work is held in numerous private and corporate collections, including Telus Sky and Bank of Montreal.