An interview with artist Ilona Szwarc about her current solo, "Virgin Soap."
There is a simultaneous nonchalance and sternness on their faces. The subjects—artist Ilona Szwarc and her model, Talia Shvedova—address the camera head-on; steady, assured, knowing. Together, they assert the process that they undertake, to cast Talia’s breasts and torso, and complete it, clinically. This complicated power dynamic, revealed both within Szwarc’s photographs and surfacing between the viewer and the artwork, is expressed in “Virgin Soap,” the artist’s debut solo exhibition with Diane Rosenstein Gallery through October 9.
“’Virgin Soap’ demonstrates objectification, but somehow I feel like in this process I have reclaimed my own body and wrested it from others’ gaze,” explains the artist. Process is something we delved into in our interview with Szwarc, who refers to the studio as her “safe space,” and shares the research method that allows her to develop a concise, narrative shot list. This surgical approach becomes evermore clear in roving over the precise placement of silicone, tennis balls, hands and color throughout her series of striking tableaus.