Allan Switzer


Allan Switzer Print Edition, 2015
Inkjet print on paper
11 x 14 in.

Allan Switzer, a multi-disciplinary Vancouver artist, was born in Calgary in 1955. He is not only a product of Vancouver sensibilities and a philosophy degree from York University, but also a by-product of the second generation Conceptualists’ of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, who made up a large part of the ECIAD faculty during his time at school.

The work he began in graduate school was a kind of pathology. Allan began sifting through the remains of the recently departed-(Modernism). Utilizing the grid as an organizing structure with an aura of film and photography in respect to models of subjectivity. These works suggested a taxonomy of photography in a modernist field, where both the photographs and the modernism are, in different ways, corrupted.

He continues to explore this broad notion of Pathology to create work that develops these themes but in subtler, more abstract ways. Always interested in exploring the relations of different levels and kinds of” Pathology” to their various organizing discourse. Allan’s work now conducts a less self conscious inquiry into modes of construction, and reflects a refined critical engagement into the specific formal properties and procedures of painting.

Allan utilizes the motifs of abstraction, minimalist grids, stripes and images, and fonts and these works can be read as complex systems of reference, effecting a collision of signs and elements of disparate painterly discourse. The specific interrelationships of these appropriated parts leave meaning residing not in some essence or identity but precisely in the interplay of the various elements.

In his most recent works, Switzer is influenced by Molinari’s colour study and patterns by Bridget Riley. Switzer creates an experience of “pure phenomena” when the viewers interact with his visually (over) stimulating works. The use of text within his work continues to appear discreetly in various forms as an exploration of visual language. Most of Switzer’s texts reference 1970’s rock lyrics and can be seen within the various stylized patterns of his paintings.

Allan Switzer studied Philosophy at Toronto’s York University and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Vancouver’s Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. He also holds a Masters degree in Fine Art from Montreal’s Concordia University.