Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Belated Fourth of July

I had a wonderful Fourth of July. The police directed and redirected us so that a normal fifteen minute trip took an hour and a half. It was raining. We missed the parade and saw only the last three floats. Being the eternal optimist, I went out looking for photographic opportunity. Perhaps channeling Robert Frank's The Americans, a book indelibly burned into my brain, I took these photos.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Managing Disaster

A few years ago I bought a little model of the Unabomber's cabin from a series that contained buildings like the Texas Book Depository and Ford's Theater.  They were made by Constantin and Laurene Leon Boym.  I bought it because it was a difficult time in my life and I wanted to be able hold disaster in the palm of my hand. I thought it would make things more manageable. 

Imagine my surprise when I walked into the Museum of Art and Design to see NYC Makers, the MAD Biennial saw some of the little buildings on display. Including an alternate series: Eighteen Buildings (from the Missing Monuments Series) I guess the moral of the story is that art conquers all. Ars Vincit omnia!

Photo of he Missing Monuments Series by Eva Heyd.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything

This blog title was the title of a really wonderful Douglas Coupland show I saw at the Vancouver Art Gallery. His work addresses Canadian culture, language, and the presence of technology in modern life. He also has a whopping sense of humor. Some of my favorite works are made with what we might call upcycled or recycled materials. This is a foreign concept in northern Canada where everything is used and reused in a variety of waysit is just business as usual. Go Canada!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cycladic Secrets in Translation

I made a series of prints at Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, over the course of the last year, as studies for larger paintings. They show how capricious memory is since I was at the Metropolitan Museum and looked at the Cycladic figures that inspired them. In my mind they were direct descendants. As artists we do have quite a transformative  imagination.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Way You Look to Me

I went to The Little World's Fair  in Grahamsville. They have been holding it for 135 years. While there, I started thinking of the myriad of reasons I photograph. A visual diary. An interest in people. An acknowledgement of current culture. An abstraction of life and color.  A discovery of how things look when they are photographed. Perhaps self-referential. I give you how things interest me,

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer is Almost Over...

In these last hot days I hope you enjoy New York summer including the sticky gritty pleasure of Coney Island and the breeze on the Staten Island Ferry. For your entertainment here are a few of my Coney Island photos and my video "Gizmo Kaleidoscope." Oh...and you can have your very own copy of my book, just click on it and jump through to Blurb—next time I see you I'll personally autograph if for you.

 Mermaid Parade by Susan Shaw foe SALE!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Box of Photographs

My grandparent’s generation passed on a cardboard box of photographs filled with images of family members left behind in Poland who perished in the Holocaust, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I couldn’t throw it out but it seemed like a heavy weight to be their custodian.  Many years later I decided to use these photographs directly in my process of handmade paper.
My figures exist in a theater of recurring images and gestures—that combine and recombine through chance and accident—mimicking the randomness of fate. My process also echoes my own experience with cancer. The news shakes you with that same uncertainty of outcome. These works involve melancholic memory and a sense of loss.
Despite the emphasis on speed in our current culture, I choose to be a maker of physical objects that require slow manual labor. Fibers need to be beaten, pulled from water and couched in layers. With cotton, linen or other plant materials, I engage with the immediacy of working wet into wet as an integral part of my process. I mix pulp, pigments, and photographic fragments.  I blow on dust or ashes, and I shroud or reveal with a translucent skin of abaca, all integrated in the moment the paper is made.
This process allows me to access the past. I consciously capture or undermine the representation of heroic symbols, inverting their meaning by pairing color and gesture to modify the role of these symbols. I intend my work to trigger memories that unite my individual experiences with those that expand beyond me.


© susan shaw 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Chance Moments

Sometimes you get handed a gift. This Alaska landscape was taken through the distorting window glass of the ARR train speeding towards Denali. I like being an artist because we get to recognize those moments.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Bigness of it All

 Alaska still has the vastness to take one back to 19th century photographs of space. These were taken at the Mendenhall Glacier. Think Timothy O'Sullivan or Eadweard Muybridge or just go 21st century  to the Mendenhall Glacier weather web cam.