"Zina Swanson’s paintings, sculptures, and installations draw on plant-related lore, and while they’re often humorous and uncanny they also hint at a darker view of humanity’s relationship to the natural world. Her paintings are detailed, precise...
Her practice has an ongoing relationship with several texts including Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird’s infamous The Secret Life of Plants (1973), Primary Perception: Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods, and Human Cells (2003) by CIA lie-detector specialist Cleve Backster, and Animal and Plant Lore (1899). What Swanson has in common with these “pioneers” of plant research is an inquisitiveness bordering on suspicion in the beauty, complexity, and potential of plants. Still, there is always a human presence in her works—the outline of a face, noses, a hand—or something that suggests a human has been here: a window, neatly arranged sticks. These works are often smaller in scale, though this is one of their strengths. They’re scaled for an interaction with the viewer that is personal, intimate, and so wonderfully unnerving."
- Text from Sumer Gallery
Zina Swanson lives and works in Ōtautahi Christchurch. She has exhibited extensively with solo and group presentations at most of Aotearoa New Zealand’s top galleries and museums. These include the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna Waiwhetū, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, City Gallery Wellington and Artspace Aotearoa. Her works are also held in the collections of the Wallace Arts Trust, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna Waiwhetū, Dunedin Public Art Gallery and The Dowse Art Museum, and she has been the recipient of the prestigious Frances Hodgkins Fellowship, and in 2014 was an Apexart New York Inbound Resident.
Swanson has had two solo shows at The Physics Room: Untitled, 2007, and The risk of it all falling apart, 2009.