A debut art installation by Virginia-based artist Patty Swygert opens at the National Buffalo Museum on Friday, Nov. 27, with a virtual opening reception and artist talk on Dec. 4.

Swygert is a conceptual and visual sculptor and fiber artist. Her installation, "I AM BISON," uses paint, ink, earth pigments, soil, dyes, thread and yarn on paper, fabric, and found objects, to offer glimpses of the national mammal from prehistory through the present day. The installation features nearly 30 two- and three-dimensional works created by Swygert specifically for the National Buffalo Museum’s space.

“When Patty contacted us after she participated in our juried art show, 'Bison in Art 2019,' to propose creating this immersive exhibit, we were thrilled," said Rachel Johnson, the museum’s curator of collections. "It is exciting to have an artist of this caliber creating work for the museum and bringing attention to the story of the bison’s ongoing restoration."

Asked what inspired her about this project, Swygert said, “I love stories, especially those which feature an underdog and involve numbers. The story of the bison has both of those characteristics. From the first animals which crossed into North America from Asia, bison flourished until millions roamed the continent for perhaps millions of years before being reduced to fewer than 1,000 animals in just a few decades and then brought back from the brink of extinction.”

Swygert’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. Individual pieces range in size from micro sculptures less than 2 inches to room-sized installations. She works in various media including concrete, led lights, paper, fabric, fiber, metal, wood, stone, glass and repurposed and found objects. Often experiential and interactive, tactile and touchable, some of her pieces capture light, texture and color while others address more controversial social issues, global crises and the fate of humans and animals as they navigate a changing world.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

The National Buffalo Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. "I AM BISON" will be on view from Nov. 27 to Sept. 11, 2021.

The National Buffalo Museum’s mission is to advocate for the restoration of the North American Bison through education and outreach. For more information, contact Johnson at 252-8648 or collections@buffalomuseum.com.