This former longshoreman from east Texas, who died in 1993 at the age of eighty-four, carried a Bible, a pistol, and a business card that proclaimed him "One of the best and oldest true primitive FOLK ARTISTS around today." Unlike most self-proclaimed outsider artists, Swearingen made paintings whose appeal doesn't depend on the folksy charm of clumsily painted figures, cows, and chickens. Instead, it's the meandering channels of rich color, curving around the see-through architecture of his barns and churches, that give these works their motley beauty. If you didn't know Swearingen was the child of sharecroppers, you might think he had grown up with Munch and Klee.
The New Yorker, January 31, 2000, page 19