Recently created at Dieu Donné Papermill. Grappling with writing a statement for these works. Please feel free to add your 2 cents, I am still rewriting.
I am a peripheral survivor of
the Holocaust.A cardboard box of
photographs passed on to me was filled with images of family members who
perished. No one in my family wanted it. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I
couldn’t throw it out but it seemed like a weight and responsibility to keep
forever. These works in paper
involve a melancholic memory and a sense of loss and contain some of those images.
In my works, my figures exist in
a handmade theater of recurring images and gestures. Keeping the repeated
images in flux enables discovery. Gestures combine and recombine through chance
or accident.That is an important
part of my process—referencing the randomness of fate—who lived, who
died. It also echoes my own experience with cancer.
Despite the current speed and
velocity of the world, I choose to be a maker of slow physical objects.
Fibers need to be beaten, pulled from water and couched in layers. With cotton,
linen or other plant materials such as flax or abaca, I engage with the
immediacy of working wet into wet as an integral part of the process. I layer
in cotton pulp, pigmented linen, and photographic fragments.I blow on charcoal or graphite dust,
and I shroud or reveal with a translucent skin of abaca, all integrated during
This process also allows me to
access the past, particularly in revisited universal themes and to revisit the
collective suffering of the Jewish people. The iconography grows out of
the language of the body and from family
photographs reinterpreted. I thus consciously capture or undermine the
representation of heroic symbols, inverting the meaning by pairing photographs,
color and gesture to modify the role of these symbols. My work serves to
refute the Holocaust deniers and triggers memories that reunite my individual
experiences with those that expand beyond me.
Last night I went to pay my final respects to Ultra Violet a.k.a. Isabelle Collin-Dufresne. It was very moving. It was like a very surreal cocktail party with no drinks and no food but filled with interesting people of all ages and representing all the phases of her life. She looked beautiful, still in violet with a beaded collar and her glittering pins that spelled out Ultra Violet.
We became friends in the last few years. She had a great spirit, interested in art and people, always shimmering in purple and glitter, and always herself. I shall miss her.
I just received my fourth rejection letter this week. I know this business is like being tossed about in the sea but sometimes it would be nice to get some Yee Hahs!
I am reminded of an alt. version of a business plan I made while at New York Foundation for the Art's Boot Camp, seems just as good as the one I made with financials, marketing plan, goals, etc. and a table of contents. Here it is...and you can barely see the last piece which reads "success"!
Susan Shaw is an internationally exhibited painter and photographer. Private and public collections include the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Shaw is the recipient of two New York State Artist’s Fellowships and 2007/2009 residency fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center.
Kurt Hoss is a freelance photographer capturing the exuberance of
New York City for 35 years. A favorite project has been documenting life in south western Louisiana, culminating in two recent books, Going to Lafayette and Bosco Swamp.
Shaw and Hoss recently received an AVA gold award for video production, as producers of The Mermaid Parade.