Discover more from Susan Wolf
how often is starting again the only option or the best option?
start again should be my artist statement. It sums up my practice more accurately than this version crafted by chatbot:
“My work is an exploration of the interplay between memory, identity, and the natural world. As a 65 year old woman, I draw on a lifetime of experiences and observations to create pieces that are both personal and universal. Using a variety of media including printmaking, mixed media, and collage, I experiment with form and texture to capture the complexity of our inner lives and the world around us. My process in intuitive and often involves a mix of planning and spontaneity, with each piece revealing itself in unexpected ways. Ultimately, my goal is to create work that encourages the viewer to pause and reflect, to connect with their own memories and emotions, and to find beauty and meaning in the everyday.”
While doing the work myself I move in and out of the weeds:
Susan Wolf is an interdisciplinary visual and performing artist working primarily as an experimental printmaker. She is always simultaneously learning and unlearning, exploring the identity and materiality of everyday objects. Arranging and recontextualizing materials at hand, making fragile poetic assemblages, or taking apart and repurposing fiber to paint, dye and stitch to recreate tactile narratives that trouble their way through potential heightened interspecies connections. A lifelong practice of still and moving self portraiture narrates her internal world and questions concerning her impact and place in a body of site-specific performative work.
Have you ever needed to start again? What did it look like?
image: when an explosion moves everything that was home into a dumpster and then several more.
Sometimes the stuff of life happens and everything changes. Sometimes you are forced to start again. I’ve experienced this moment several times during my life. Helping clean up post Katrina. Helping parents and elder friends downsize for the move into assisted living. Helping after apartment fires and this most recent loss of shelter due to explosion.
Listen below to this reflective poem about starting again:
My art practice is an ongoing act of healing, translation and exploration. This is the charcoal drawing, the beginning of figuring out what is next.
I’m still crafting my artist statement. Each time I walk it though the grinder there are portions of the text that make me bristle. Too much art speak. Too vague or obtuse. Not deep enough or true enough. Some days I wish I was just one thing. Just a printmaker printing but, I am not.
For Susan Wolf there has always been a shifting dance between roles of caregiver, educator and artist. These lifelong roles replicate in her creative practice as a multimedia artist which she defines as an ongoing act of healing, translation and exploration.
Susan grew up alongside mental illness. Her role was to witness and translate the mood and to watch for triggers and shifts into and out of well being. This same finely tuned witnessing of personal and social dynamics informs her art practice. Ongoing projects are anchored by questions and followed by research. Her observational lens, as witness, holds care with the insight of tangential thinking. The resulting translation informs the artifacts she makes and anchors her work including her current ongoing project inquiry about carrying/caring.
Across a range of media, she is arranging and re-contextualizing materials at hand, creating monotypes, making fragile poetic assemblages, or taking apart and repurposing fiber to paint, dye and stitch. Artifacts travel from the studio into community spaces with zines and simple book forms. At times her work is performative. Self portraits negotiate identity and place, playing with costume and terrain.
Susan’s decades long public practice as facilitator and researcher, supporting and mentoring (TK-12) educators with immersive arts based, liberatory redesign of learning spaces continues to influence her art practice. Strategies striving for spaces of belonging and healing require reflective opportunities for making and conversation at their center. Connections with contemporary artists and exhibition spaces become transformative spaces for teaching and learning. Destinations for her work with educators have included the Oakland Museum of CA, The Jewish Contemporary Museum (SF), and the Museum of African Diaspora (SF). Currently as an artist-in-residence at Kala Art Institute, (Berkeley CA) her focus has shifted to approach community engaged work by beginning with her own personal inquiries and creating a range of artifacts later supported by and held by conversational prompts for gatherings and community celebrations of understanding.
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