Archive for Sunday, December 9, 1990


December 9, 1990


Laurel and Hardy. Burns and Allen. Sonny and Cher. Swartz and Boyer.

OK, so maybe you never heard of Swartz and Boyer. They're not a comedy or a singing team. They're kind of, well, an art team. They like to show together.

"We really complement each other artistically," Judy Swartz said. "We've been like that since we met each other."

"We're both big animal people," Patty Boyer said.

Animals mainly fish and dogs dominate the dual exhibit the pair are showing through Dec. 21 at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Boyer, after a couple of years of designing fantasy shoes, now has a whole line of functional ceramics. As you enter the center's gallery, you see 26 fish, many with round, bulging eyes and flashy, tropical colors, looking heavenward. That may not sound very functional, but each has a candle stuck in its mouth a carp candelabra, if you will.

SWARTZ'S representational paintings blast bright, acrylic colors across the canvas. In two, the colors surround the large shape of Swartz's dog. She even has a painting of a row of tropical fish hanging from a line. That painting hangs above a school of ceramic fish-candles.

"We don't want to put a label on my work," Swartz said Tuesday, caught with Boyer in the act of installing the show. "Don't put it in categories."

Boyer and Swartz met in the early 1970s at Kansas University, when both were studying in the School of Fine Arts.

BOYER STARTED her career in art by painting, but she recently turned to ceramics.

"Two years ago I bought a kiln from a friend," she said. "I had to teach myself about ceramics, and I had a lot of fun. I had pieces blow up on me on my first attempts.''

For the fish, each of which is named, she used a white clay with underglazes, overglazes, lacquer and, of all things, fingernail polish.

"I go to the Wet and Wild counter at Woolworth," she said. "They have colors there that people never would wear, but you figure they need to be used someplace."

Boyer said the fish will be for sale; she plans to break up the school. The idea for the fish came as a welcome relief from the shoes, which occupied Boyer's art for a long time.

"I wanted a break," she said. "I really needed it."

SWARTZ AND Boyer say they were influenced by trips to Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii, where they saw the electrifying colors in nature that march into their artworks.

"I went to Cozumel (Mexico), which is the greatest place for diving in the world," Swartz said. "I snorkled there. From the top, you see every different color, on the fish and in the coral reef."

So when you go to see these two artists' work, you may be tempted to bring along your sunglasses. But you could miss the enlivening forms and colors.

"This is the way I've always painted," Swartz said.

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