Scott Switzer makes use of gestural brush strokes and a complex melding of colors to portray the language of abstract figuration in the creation of oil paintings depicting layered images of people, animals, and objects that immerse us into the emotion, dreamtime, memory, and allusion of the artist’s reality.
Born in 1960 in Billings, Montana; Switzer’s childhood interest in art was encouraged by his parents. The loss of both his brother and his father by the time he was eighteen, shortly after his graduation from an alternative high school in Santa Barbara, CA, shaped the artist’s tumultuous adolescence, which was resolved through recovery, faith, and a new-found devotion to painting. He attended the Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles, and later studied with the painter Clyde Aspevig, an important mentor.
Returning to Montana, Scott married the daughter of his high school art teacher, and established a studio there. He focused on plein-air painting, influenced by post-impressionism, and inspired by turn of the century and contemporary Russian landscape painting and Soviet Realism. His paintings of the American West drew the attention of collectors and galleries throughout the U.S.
Switzer has been deeply affected by his travels and the people that he has encountered across America, Mexico, Russia, China, and beyond. He and his wife had adopted the daughter of a Native American friend, and subsequently adopted the girl’s brother. These additions to their family familiarized the Switzers with Native American culture, and influenced their philosophy of life and ethic.
The family lived for a time in Nikolaevsk, Alaska, a remote village of Russian “Old Believers” and later in Homer, Alaska, a celebrated destination known for its fishing, bears, glaciers, and mountains. Using the signature colors for which he’s known, Switzer captured the folkloric scenes of day-to-day village life. He explored the land and indulged his interest in mountaineering and though he no longer lives there permanently returns often to paint and visit his adult children and grandchildren who still reside in Homer.
While living in Costa Rica, a visit with the native Wimea people in 2009 became a turning point for Scott, with him resolving to follow his own expressive path as a painter. His work began to reflect his interest in modern, post-modern, and neo-expressionist painting. Switzer initiated his "Torah Series in Costa Rica, he continued to paint on it after returning to Montana, and eventurally completed the series in Shelter Island, NY in 2012. He presented the first studies for the series to the chief of the Wimea people in Costa Rica and the first installation to The Jerusalem Great Synagogue in Israel.
Switzer’s paintings have been exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions regionally and nationally since 1989 and his work is included in numerous private and corporate collections. His “Torah Series”, an imaginative evocation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, in an epic series of fifty-four paintings, and 16 additional large scale canvases, “Related”, were selected in 2014 for inclusion in a national museum placement program and have been the subject of several one person exhibitions.
Switzer has had solo and two-person exhibitions at Chase Family Gallery, Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford, West Hartford, CT; Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Foster City, CA; Teilbaum Center for the Arts, Addison-Penzak JCC of Silcon Valley, Los Gatos, CA; Meyer Gallery, Santa Fe; Gallery at Shoal Creek, Austin; Turner Gallery, Denver; Trailside Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; and Artique Gallery, Anchorage, AK. His group exhibitions include Mockingbird Gallery, Bend, OR; Dana Gallery, Missoula, MT; and Chaparral Fine Art, Bozeman, MT.
The artist is currently working on canvases that portray his daily musings and the agrarian lifestyle in north central Idaho, where he lives with his wife and youngest son on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.