Artist Rob Swainston Begins a Week-Long Residency at the Rubenstein Arts Center

Artist Rob Swainston will be in residence at the Rubenstein Art Center from March 6th – March 10th as part of the Duke Arts Make it Tangible Program.

Swainston’s practice combines digital processes with traditional printmaking techniques in works that span painting, sculpture, video and installation.  During the residency at the Rubenstein Arts Center, Swainston will engage the Duke community, centering the Innovation Co-Lab Studio at the Ruby with a number of projects and demonstrations.

“We have powerful new digital tools, both software and hardware, to assist us in making art.  But when we make a digital drawing/collage/or photo, how can we make it material and bring it into our world?… Recent news has hyped hysteria around Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing humans in our collective creative output.  However, this simplistic view overlooks the feedback loop (information) of the human/artist who learns to give smarter and smarter information to the machine/tool.  Let us look at how we have creatively used tools historically; let us wonder at what our new tools can do; and let us imagine what we want our future to look like.” – Rob Swainston 

Swainston will also collaborate on artwork with Duke faculty member Bill Fick and printmaking students in the Smith Warehouse Print Studio, planning a multi-layer and multi-color woodblock print montaged from images sourced from the Duke Digital Collection Archives.  Through this project, Swainston will demonstrate how the ShopBot Computer Numeric Controller (CNC) router at the Innovation Co-Lab Studio at the Ruby can be employed to make relief woodcut prints.  Members of the Duke Community are invited to join Swainston during the week at three different events.

Opportunities for Duke Students, Staff and Faculty:

Artist in Residence Workshop with Rob Swainston

Wednesday, March 8 from 6 – 9 p.m.
The Ruby Makerspace
Hosted by Duke Arts and Duke Innovation Co-Lab

Register here:

In this workshop, Rob Swainston will demonstrate how to utilize photoshop channels to plan multi-color prints, as well as how to build toolpaths and cut-files to interface with the ShopBot CNC.

Open Studio with Rob Swainston

Thursday, March 9 & Friday, March 10
The Ruby Makerspace
Hosted by Duke Arts and Duke Innovation Co-Lab

No registration required – just drop in.

Rob Swainston will be completing carving blocks for a variable edition print that will be produced in collaboration with Duke faculty member Bill Fick and printmaking students in the Smith Warehouse Print Studio.

Artist Rob Swainston carving a block

Artist bio:

Rob Swainston was born in rural Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City.  He is an Associate Professor of Printmaking at Purchase College and co-founder and Master Printer for the collaborative fine art printshop Prints of Darkness.  In 2020-21 Rob was a Guest Professor in Printmaking at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin.  Rob’s work sits at the intersection of printmaking, painting, sculpture, and installation and is informed by a dual academic background in Political Science and Fine Art.  Rob has been awarded numerous residencies including Skowhegan, Marie Walsh Sharpe, and the Fine Arts Work Center. Solo and group exhibitions include Marginal Utility, David Krut Projects, Bravin Lee Programs, Socrates Sculpture Park, Smack Mellon, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Print Center of New York, Canada Gallery, Queens Museum, and the Bronx Museum.  Rob’s recent project, Doomscrolling, a collaboration with Zorawar Sidhu, had a solo show at Petzel Gallery, NYC, in 2022.  Collectively, Sidhu and Swainston explore the intersection of historical print processes with contemporary technologies.  Their projects investigate the complexities of contemporary social issues, drawing from the history of print as the medium par excellence of social movements.  Works from Doomscrolling have been included in group exhibitions at Princeton Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington.  The project has entered significant public and private collections including MoMA, National Gallery D.C., MFA Houston, Staateliche Museen zu Berlin, the Hall Foundation, and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Rob Swainston & Zorawar Sidhu – “Doomscrolling” Video by Petzel Gallery

Learn more about Rob Swainston