Keys 1



genocide cropped 3

This is a charcoal on paper drawing.  It was inspired by my desire to depict all forms of genocide for the atrocities that they are.  Genocide is a despicable crime against humanity that is often justified by the perpetrators.  Sadly, genocide is often repeated throughout history, and no group of people seems immune to being either the victims or the persecutors.

This drawing was made circa 2008.  I am posting it now because I am currently working on a 5′ x 4′ companion painting for this piece.  I will post pictures when it is complete.


Thoughts for portfolio

This is a collection of four small charcoal on paper drawings discussing the same subject.  It is several years old, dating back to 2006/2007.  I am posting it now because a large scale companion painting is in the very near future.

Happenings (some art, some not)

I have not posted in a while, and I dare say that I have many good excuses! Here is a brief synopsis of my life events since my last post in August:

*graduated from Drury University with MA in Studio Art and Theory.

*married my wonderful husband Jason in my home state of Missouri, followed by a week in Cozumel (with the weather currently being what it is, Cozumel sounds exceptionally nice right now…).

*left active duty military.

*(almost) finished degree requirements for MA in Art Education from University of Nebraska at Kearney.  Just waiting for that thesis to be graded!

*Became Artist in Residence at 39th Street Gallery.

*Joined local art alliance, where I have been displaying artwork locally, participating in critiques, and teaching art lessons at a local community center.

*started applying for terminal degree programs.

I think it’s safe to say that 2012 has been one of the most eventful years of my life!  This past year has been jam packed with major life events and significant decisions.  While some of these happenings are personal, many are professional or art oriented, and are aimed at helping myself to become the best professional artist I can be.

So that’s a recent summary of Susan in a nutshell.  Other than some extra post-active duty quality time spent with Julia, it is been busy, busy, busy! (To be fair, Julia has been keeping me on my toes as well).

I have been working on a new body of work for the Artist in Residence program.  It will consist of drawings, paintings, sculptures, at least 1 installation, and (if things go swimmingly well), a ceramic sculpture.  I will post some pictures as soon as everything is complete.

My first installation

I recently attempted an installation for the fist time.  This project was interesting, because I knew what I wanted to create, but had difficulty for a long time explaining the meaning of this installation.  This is unusual for me; I typically have a definite meaning for what I am trying to create before I start any project.  As this project progressed, I chose materials and subjects knowing I wanted them to be a part of the work, but only able to explain why in the vaguest of manners.  However, as the installation continued, its meaning became clearer.

My installation is installed under a stairwell and features thousands of protruding spikes.  The spikes represent outside stressors and the location under the stairs represents a state where a person can live, but not necessarily thrive.  It also represents a person attempting to be discreet about their circumstances, though they are still blatantly obvious to the public.  Also included are a mattress and chair with protruding spikes and a television playing a video loop of a tree gaining and losing its leaves.  This installation represents a person who is experiencing an inability to relax or “turn their brain off” at the end of the day.  When night comes, they are unable to relax, thus go back and forth between tossing and turning in bed and sitting uncomfortably in front of the television.   The video loop of the tree represents a state without clarity.  For example: is the tree dying, healing, going through a pattern of normal seasons, or going through an unhealthy pattern where everything is fine, only to not be fine again?  The viewer cannot know for certain.

An unintended (but not particularly bad effect) came with the lighting.  The stairwell was in close proximity to a very large window.  Therefore, the lighting would change from bright to dark, depending on the time of the day.  Though unplanned, I found this to be somewhat fitting to the project (though I must admit the dim lighting was the most appropriate).

Again, this is my first attempt at an installation, and the first time in a long time that I didn’t fully understand the meaning of what I was making until I started making it.  I don’t think I am done with this project: I think it will be re-addressed in the future with more clarity and improved craftsmanship.  The “unfinished” feel I have with this installation is part of the reason it does not have a title-it did at one time have a title, but I have since changed my mind.  I don’t like to call a piece “Untitled” very often, but this one will have to wait a bit longer for a permanent name.   Despite the fact that my own artwork feels a bit vague and unexplained even to myself, I greatly enjoyed this project.  This will definitely not be my last installation!