SHERIDAN The Cutting Edge of Crafts
Edited by Jim Strecker
Published The Boston Mill Press 1999
by Daniel Crichton
In approaching Susan's mixed media work you will see paper that looks like glass, glass that resembles ice or stone, and metal that could be either. There's a definite sense that all are chosen very carefully and then fully integrated into the piece. Susan has been successful because she has the ability of a poet to draw out the essential qualities of these materials while representing her feelings and thoughts clearly and with depth.
Perhaps it is the ambiguity about materials which attracts me initially, but it's the subtle handling of the metaphor of the journey and flight in this sculpture (Nest/Flight/Bird/Me) from the Scarecrow Series which holds my attention. The understated sensibility which is characteristic of Susan's work allows for discussion and encourages the exploration and participation of the viewer. Meanwhile the scale and balance of the form are challenging and would have certainly presented difficulties in assembly.
It is often the best artists, however, who are able to draw simplicity out of complexity. Susan's balanced use of materials invariably results in her pieces resonating with one clear voice. Perhaps all good art works because of the ability of the artist to provide the right sort of visual and tactile information, i.e., forms, surfaces and imagery that connect with the imagination and lived experience of the viewer.
The figure of the scarecrow, with its precariously balanced, asymmetrical human dimension exists on the boundary of the material and the ethereal. In the final analysis, there is a spiritual and deeply human quality about this work that moves me and speaks in a gentle voice that I can nonetheless hear clearly.
'In 'Nest/Flight/Bird/Me' my relationship with the piece was so direct that, once the work was realized, it was as if the piece had made itself, and I felt as light as a feather' Artist quote
Image: Nest/Flight/Bird/Me 1988 Gauze, copper, barbed wire, steel
216cm x 127cm x 27cm