When we arrived at the home featured in the Chatham episode of New England Living TV, we couldn’t help but notice the metal sculpture of a school of swimming fish prominently displayed over the range in the kitchen (shown above). In the land of white beadboard and hydrangeas, the artwork was a decidedly edgy take on the beachy decor so often found in Cape Cod homes; urban industrial meets Coastal Living, if you will.
Working out of his Harwich Studio, artist Steve Swain has tapped into a look that seems to appeal to everyone from boho musicians to the upscale urbanites who summer on the Cape. While his steel sculptures range from horseshoe crab wall sconces to funky guitars, to the tap handles he custom creates for Cape Cod Beer, it his swimming school of bunker sculptures that has both homeowners and business owners flocking to The Frying Pan Gallery, his weather-beaten shack of a gallery on Wellfleet Harbor.
While no two of the steel sculpture’s swimming bunker pieces are even remotely the same, each captures the beguiling combination of randomness paired with uniformity of a school of swimming fish. Whether it’s a small-ish wall sculpture, an oversized ceiling light fixture or an installation that wraps around a room, such as the one below, there’s something almost hypnotic about the pieces.
The bearded artist is a well-known fixture on Cape Cod with seemingly everyone either having met him at some point over the decades or being well aware of his renowned work. The-artist-formerly-known-as-Swainer’s infectious enthusiasm for his family, his art, Cape Cod and life in general is just so, well, infectious. And, for that, we thank him.