Rebecca Swainston's highly expressive, richly textured and colourful, draw inspiration from 'the human condition' - our thoughts, our desires and vulnerabilities. The figures in her work are seated, floating or leaping, stretching out or stricken in a dreamlike state. Often, they are clothed in elaborate costumes or heavy shoes. Animals appear 'which represent states of mind, influences or energies and embody feelings of displacement and separation of being of a different nature.'
She says: 'Much of the work interweaves ideas of the changing nature of identity, existence and perception, and explores the shifting ground of human existence.'
Her references and influences are far-reaching and uncompromising, seeking out the light as well as the dark. She is unafraid to investigate themes such as men's violence against women, or the harrowing effects of COVID-19 illness on a friend, yet her painting alludes to life's lightness, curiosity and eccentricities. She finds inspiration in her own personal relationships and conversations; she also makes work in response to unique communities found in differing corners of the globe, such as the stilt-walking shepherds of Landes, France, and the free diving women in the Korean Jeju province, known as haenyeo or "sea women."