Friday, June 27, 2014

A Sample of new works in Paper

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 the wet.

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.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ultra Violet—the Passing of an Era

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.

                                                           Photo ©2011 Susan Shaw