Martin Swift, CARNIS, 2017

Artist Statement

My work explores the nuances of masculinity in America. Due to unhealthy societal pressure to exhibit traditionally masculine traits like aggression, strength, dominance, courage, and honor males in the United States not only objectify other genders, but themselves as well. This creates something that I refer to as the Paradox of Manliness. 

Objectification is presented in a range of symptoms. From body image issues and eating disorders to unhealthy competition, harassment, and violence. Pressures to adhere to a specific physical and intellectual aesthetic leave men feeling inadequate. The expectation that men confront the world impulsively and aggressively contributes to a cultural rejection of male empathy and compassion. My work depicts a spectrum of masculinity and emotional transparency. The paintings celebrate flesh, body modification, stretchmarks, and scars. 

My work is a direct response to this Paradox, an acknowledgment of what lies beyond manliness.

Carnis is a collection of pieces that represent the evolution of this series.

Exhibition catalog.


The York College Galleries are proud to present this exhibition by the artist Martin Swift. We are grateful for the support of the York College of Pennsylvania administration, faculty, and staff, including Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith, President of York College; Dr. Laura Niesen de Abruña, Provost; Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini, Dean of the Center for Community Engagement; Dr. Kenneth Martin, Dean of Campus Operations; Dr. Ken Osowski, Chair of Communication and the Arts; Professor Ry Fryar, Art Division Coordinator; Nick McConnell, Director of Operations for the Center for Community Engagement; and Allison Altland, Administrative Assistant of Communication and the Arts. 

Thank you to Kate Warren for photographing the work in these exhibitions for this catalogue. Thank you to Mariah Hertz for taking on the design of this catalogue on incredibly short notice. Thank you to Claire Miller for taking on a multitude of tasks from varnishing the paintings to helping with installation. Thank you also to Ivy Rodgers for assisting in the installation of the exhibition. A special thanks also to Scott Bitzer, who was our master problem-solver and last minute installation savior. 

Finally, a very special thank you to artist Martin Swift and guest curator Matthew Apol for selecting such a gorgeous and poignant body of work to share with the York community. It is an honor to exhibit this beautiful work and we are grateful for the opportunity. 

– Matthew Clay-Robison, Gallery Director, York College of Pennsylvania

Catalogue Photography: Kate Warren
Catalogue Design: Mariah Hertz
Exhibition Currator: Matthew Apol

Marketview Arts37 W Philadelphia Street, York, PA 17401

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