green light – Ena Swansea

Trebuchet magazine

"The repeating motifs almost seem to function as frames of a film that cannot be made."


Ena Swansea's new works are a miasma of littoral washes of druggy colour. Filters of contemporary and media-saturated consciousness overlay personal banalities elevated by texture and colour to plateaus of sly meaning. We know what we're looking at but they're weirder now and fade before our unfocusing eyes. We're hooked by the tease of understanding but expectation submits to the artist's process and we're quickly alienated.  These images scream 'drink me' in an anti-escapist trajectory, they are the last tendrils of familiarity before repetition and abstraction reframe the formal as something open. Perhaps the most alarming feature of these paintings is how they unpaint themselves in the viewer's eye, their blankness is highly reflective and oddly confronting. Certainly, not a show for those prone to dark nostalgia, empathy or attacks of conscience. Lonely children, analogous or not, in wet woodland phoneboxes does not the stuff of comfort make.

May 14, 2021