Amber Hawk Swanson (b. 1980) is a New York-based artist born in Davenport, Iowa. Recent exhibitions and screenings include Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France); Denny Gallery (New York, NY); Momenta Art (Brooklyn, NY); and Locust Projects (solo, Miami, FL). Hawk Swanson’s seminars and residencies include New Museum Seminar: SPECULATION (New York, NY); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) Workspace (New York, NY); LMCC Process Space (New York, NY); Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY); MacDowell (Peterborough, NH); Sharpe-Walentas (Brooklyn, NY); Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (Skowhegan, ME); Atlantic Center for the Arts (New Smyrna Beach, FL); and G-CADD (Granite City, IL) in partnership with Paul Artspace (Florissant, MO). Recent visiting artist lecture appointments include Yale University (New Haven, CT); Columbia University (New York, NY); New York University's Tisch School of Arts (NYC); Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA, Baltimore, MD); McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada); East Carolina University (Greenville, NC); Hunter College (NYC); and Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, NY). Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL). Hawk Swanson holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Studio Arts, 2006) and is a recipient of a 2015 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Artist Community Engagement Grant and a 2014 Franklin Furnace Fund Grant.


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My work is premised on an economy of affect and grapples with what is narratativized in psychoanalysis as a debt of object choice: the attempt to fill deficits of love with desire. I have literalized these ideas in my decade-long involvement with a community that owns or desires life-sized silicone sex dolls and presents as “hetero-outsider.” I joined the silicone sex doll community in 2005, when I acknowledged my failed attempts to date “organic” women and created Amber Doll, a sex doll made in my likeness using a digital scan of my face. Amber Doll was my artistic and romantic companion between 2006-11. During that time, our life was a collaborative performance—the “Amber Doll Project”—that questioned the role of the surrogate / psychic prosthetic and the dynamics of desire. My work with dolls has since dealt with how the psychological debt of love animates us in a social-emotional economy and approaches Lacan’s poignant notion of speculative debt: "Love is giving something you don't have—to someone who doesn't want it.”