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Pat Swain:
The Chickens of Cappadocia

May 12 -June 4, 2011
Reception Thursday May 12, 7-9pm
In conjunction with the downtown art walk


The fowl in these capricious yet beautiful images are indigenous to the environment in which they were composited—Cappadocia, Turkey. The first impression upon viewing these images is a sense of equal parts fun and mastery. As much attention is put into the formal qualities of the work as is given to their droll subject matter. In many of the images, the shapes of the chickens with their cockscombs and feathers are put into dialogue with similar rock formations. We see a full treatment of the landscape photography form, as well as a surreal/pop portraiture of creatures all too familiar, yet equally odd as they appear in Swain's compositions.

In the Romantic tradition, these landscapes often convey the sublimity of nature being surveyed by the lone individual. The unfamiliar, exotic quality of these selected landscapes create the sense of mystery and surprise, with the chicken as some sort of Romantic "high priest." Here, however, this priest has been ironically supplanted by the chicken, who is humorously elevated to something approaching nobility and the heroic.

Besides the chickens' comical air, the artist relies on the universality of the chickens themselves. The first representations of chickens in Europe are found on Corinthian pottery of the 7th-century BCE.  The poet Cratinus (mid-5th century BCE) calls the chicken "the Persian alarm."  There are twenty-four billion chickens in the world now, making it the most abundant bird on the planet. Thus, the archetypal "hero" has become, in these images, poultry instead of "man."


pat swain


Pat Swain is an award-winning photographer whose work has been shown extensively around the world. Her photographs and digital art have appeared in Leonardo (MIT Press), the New York Times, Digital Fine Art, Spin Magazine, New York Magazine, Hampton Sheet, Photo District News, Viking Press, The Economist. Her work was selected for Photographer's Forum Book, 'Best of Photography 2010.' 'The Chickens of Cappadocia' was recently featured in a solo exhibit at the C.A.M Gallery in Nisantas, Istanbul.

She holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute  (Computer Art/Digital Imaging), and an M.A. from Columbia University.  She has taught digital imaging at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. She lives and teaches in New York City.


Recent and Upcoming Exhibitions include:

December 16, 2010 – January 16, 2011
'The Chickens of Cappadocia'
C.A.M Gallery / Nisantas / Istanbul

January 2012
Pollux Award
Palais de Glace
Buenos Aires, Argentina
May 5 - 28
Limner Gallery
New York, NY
August 1 – 31, 2011
The Julia Cameron Awards
The Palais de Glace,
Buenos Aires, Argentina
September 9-October 2, 2010
PX3 Exhibition  Espace DUPON
Paris, France

Gallery Representation:
C.A.M Gallery / Nisantas / Istanbul




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