TRUE STORIES / Opens October 1, 2021

TRUE STORIES / Opens October 1, 2021 Mainframe Studios | 09/27/2021

Mainframe Studios is pleased to host a special art installation by Dave Swenson and Jeremiah Elbel. Join the opening events Friday, October 1 from 5-8 p.m.

True Stories presents the work of two visual artists investigating the spaces between the ritual act of storytelling and how they impact one’s own personal and collective reality. Through the act of painting and sculpture, both artists look to their collective histories to transform violence, religion, mass media, collective timelines, and everyday life into objects imbued with fact and fable...laid bare and naked for the viewer to make up their own truth and what that means.

On View October 1 - November 30, 2021


American, B. 1984

Dave Swensen is a self-taught painter and sculptor with a background in design. He works from his home studio with a focus on minimalist concepts and forms. With a unique approach to painting Swensen’s use of shadow, light, and spatial concepts are front and center. Embedded surfaces, figurative notions, and the use of repetition are all recurring themes. Swensen is constantly refining his use of line and how a blank space is used and defined. In most cases, his work walks the line between painting and sculpture.

Through the use of unique and dense materials, Swensen can transform simple shapes into delicate concepts. Treating his surfaces with care, rich pigments and paints are repeatedly applied until the surface is deemed perfect. In reflective works, the mood of each piece changes depending on its location and brightness. It creates a cloudy distorted reflection that engulfs the space around it. The work challenges the viewer’s concept of self and the space around them.

He has taken part in numerous solo and group exhibitions locally and abroad. Some highlights include Galleria Ramo, Como Italy; Gray Contemporary, Houston TX; Galerie Bisenbach, Cologne Germany; Hello Studio, San Antonio TX; ROOMS Gallery, Chicago IL; International Gallery of Contemporary Art, Anchorage AK; Laundromat Art Project Space, Tauranga New Zealand; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha NE. Swensen is represented by Galleria Ramo located in Como, Italy.


American, B. 1979

Jeremiah Elbel spent his early years in the small town of Valley, Nebraska before moving to Des Moines, IA when he was 8 years old. It was around this time that he started to experiment with a variety of drawing mediums, most notably, his obsession with comic books. This obsession gave way to an interest in the graphic arts which would anchor his interest in pursuing painting while attending school at Grandview University from 2000-2003. From 2002-2003, he studied printmaking at Drake University under the master printer, Philip Chen. It was here and through Philip Chen's teachings that he fell in love with the printmaking process. During this time, Elbel was quite prolific, producing over 30 works utilizing a variety of printing processes including screen printing, stone lithography, and woodblock printing. It was also during this time that Elbel started painting for the first time, after which he progressed quite quickly through his studies to win numerous awards and honors in the fine arts, solidifying his interest in establishing a career in graphic design AND the fine arts.

In 2008, Elbel completed his seminal show, Spectres, where he demonstrated his mastery of the painting medium and exhibited a series of charcoal rubbings which would inform his interest in the medium to this day. It was this time that his graphic design career took off giving him the opportunity to work with several high profile clients and has since been recognized for several awards through The Art Directors Association Of Iowa and Print Magazine. In 2009, Jeremiah Elbel won the Saatchi Showdown contest, through Saatchi Gallery, giving him the opportunity to showcase his work on a global scale in Saatchi's London gallery. Elbel’s work was the subject of an eight-page feature in a Japanese magazine in May 2010 called Vision and has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions including “Anonymous” in 2011 at Iowa State University.

In his work, Elbel examines the perspective of the spectator in relationship to events of great tragedy in history. Tragedies that have molded and shaped the world we all come from and know. Elbel creates visual narratives concerned with investigating the relationship between individual identity and Jung’s idea of aesthetic archetypes and the collective conscience. Most of Elbel’s paintings weave layers of the technicolor spectrum and dark contrasting sepia-tones into photorealistic renderings of massive crowds, interrogation chambers, and armed bank robbers. There is a thread of dissonance that exists in everything he renders. Though the uniqueness of his style is directly linked to the filter Elbel uses to find his subjects, Elbel seeks to reveal the universal truth about the identity of an American culture entertained. Today, he is currently working on a new body of work slated for completion in 2021 and will be on view at SVFA in 2022.