Susan's work is an investigation of a tactile territory.
ANA & GEO.2017
Displacement, and the complexities of the mental processing of the migration experience, inform my art making process and this carries through to global currents of migration and vulnerability of the displaced. My figures are a combination of human and non-human elements in their unlikely natures, and a disquieting presence. Sightless eyes, no arms and mouth as well as three legs are dehumanising effects of loss of land. My work has been influenced by my fascination with farm implements and measuring tools, a collective memory from my childhood spending time on my grandfathers farm. This has given rise to this cast iron work. The sculpture is characterised by displacement and memory as a central theme, dealing with historical and archaic subject matter.
A Memory. A mental image of time and space
The geographical landscape of anatomy and self
My work seeks to recreate this landscape, the anatomy, and once created, though the process of creative destruction, I seek greater understanding and spiritual connection by tearing apart these layers, reducing them to smaller fragments. I then re-stitch and rearrange them - often multiple times - to investigate and interrogate as I attempt to better comprehend this landscape.
The materials are humble and utilitarian - cotton, cloth, iron, steel wool and paper. They are expressions of a haptic language, - primitive, accessible, universal and comprehendible across language, culture and origin. The tearing, ripping and shredding of paper represents the physical and emotional impact we feel on being torn away from the landscape. not just our native lands but all lands we traverse, while moving in small herds from one continent to the next - the intrinsic landscapes that form our consciousness.
By investigating and dissecting our landscapes, my aim to divulge true anatomies contained within. The physiology of the layers - shredded then stitched together - a haphazard semblance of the landscape that once was. The geology has been reworked, the original torn and replicated so many times that its primary voice has been muted and eventually - transposed to become something diluted but significant - and speaking of a collective memory.
In my work I am making my mark, whether direct or negative action. To mark is to create but through the process of unmarking I seek to explore the erasure of history. Partially erasing events and discussing displacement, transitioning through levels of consciousness. Language melts away through time, becoming a memory of language- cotton thread seeking to restore the work to a higher level of consciousness. From a muted pallet of mostly black and white I birth pre-verbal dialect, not animal, not human. These black legged creatures forge their way through the duality of the disappearance of history and the formation of a new reality. Their stilt-legs represent the feeling of a longing for home; each step you take extends your legs, stretching you and feeling more and more terrestrial as you step further and further away from your homeland. Somehow, the un-landed refugee finds balance. I mark self through my works on paper, through stitching and weaving narrative, as I search for the sculpture, characterised by displacement and memory as a central theme, dealing with historical and archaic subject matter.