This Mad & Beautiful Game

We are Shelly Johnson and Lori Swartz. We are both painters and performers. We have chosen to create work together. This Mad and Beautiful Game is a project that joins the skills of two painters, working on the same canvas. Our work reflects our commitment to challenge the boundaries and structures of painting.
Shelly Johnson’s work comes from a pop art tradition. Lori Swartz’s work is contemporary abstract. We both have been painting individually for 20 years. Together we have created something entirely new. Our process has allowed us to explore what we would not have been able to alone.
One of us begins the painting, then passes it to the other. We paint and trade off until we both believe the work to be complete. At each pass we discuss the form, content, color, meaning and direction of the piece. We often agree. We often disagree.
In the tradition of other artists who have shared the canvas (Warhol and Basquiat), we are friends who respect each other’s work and want to make something new. A collaboration requires both clarity of vision and a willingness to compromise.