Featured Artist Susan Sveda-Uncapher
String of Sins, (With stand/dress form) 36â€ťh x 12â€ťw x 12â€ťd, Found object (blouse), embroidery thread, child size dress form.
This can be seen in â€śWaitingâ€ť (shown at here) which is comprised of over 1,100 cast sugar letters, the entire text of an actual poem, broken down by number of times each letter of the alphabet appeared in that poem. In the end, the words of the poem no longer mattered...only the activity of creating words, letters, to fill the time, while waiting to join a loved one who had passed. Susan wanted her process to mimic the poemâ€™s sadness and futility of labor and language. The sugar casting was done using a Day of the Dead sugar skull recipe, for on that day, the living are thought to communicate freely with departed souls. She hoped this act would conjure some of the magic of that day.
The words â€śI am Readyâ€ť are invented text, not found in the poem. They utilize the negative space of the floor with loose, sprinkled sugar. This fragile portion of the piece was most vulnerable to visitors. In the spaces in between, the meaning of the poem is revealed, much as life reveals itself in the quiet spaces between our everyday busyness.
Susan hones ideas that she is interested in, much akin to writing an essay, to ensure the conceptual focus is pinpointed on what needs to be said or thought about. She is drawn to ideas that words miss getting to the heart of, sometimes using or destroying conventions of actual writing or letter forms in the process, to find a language beyond them. From that point on, the materials and forms can be worked out and begin to speak on their own and the process of making begins.
The use of words is central in the intellectual exploration of â€śString of Sinsâ€ť (shown at left and below) as an examination of the psychological benefits of confessing oneâ€™s sins, and so compiled a list of her â€śsinsâ€ť. The list was 237 sins long at the time of creating the piece, and include â€śsins of omission, guilty thoughts, dirty imaginings, actual wrong doings or just things that gave her a bad feeling in the pit of her stomachâ€ť. The text was laid out with causes of great guilt repeated several times over, on a family heirloom blouse.
The majority of Susanâ€™s work is labor intensive, sometimes taking a year or more to complete. For this reason she tends to have several projects in various stages at any given time. The more complex projects require a great deal of systematic planning. She considers the initial stages as play, and will often build mock ups, run tests on materials, or learn a new technique to execute a piece.
This complex planning can be seen in her work â€śCheaterâ€ť, created from an invitation to the â€śImagining Otherness: Catching Sight of Monstrosityâ€ť group exhibition. Measurements and placement of the hoops was carefully planned to form a cohesive grouping yet allow the hoops to spin slowly and independently. She carved modified â€śfingerprintsâ€ť (hybrid imagery of a fingerprint and of female anatomy) and used latex as a pivotal part of the work because it could resemble human skin and the scent of latex condoms, tying the medium directly to the message of the work. If lucky enough to have free rein of an exhibition space, she will create site specific work and enjoys researching the history and materials inherent to the space in which she is creating and installing.
Regarding the message of the work, the artist stated, â€śThe expanse of pleasure to be found in skin to skin contact is a private world for lovers, but when a lover strays, they become a cheater. The partner left violated imagines the lover with others, skin to skin, and all of the pleasure previously experienced suddenly becomes a shameful series of actions carried out with others. Their fingertips become imprinted in invisible patterns upon the loverâ€™s flesh, in these monstrous violations of loveâ€ť. To learn more, visit: www.susansveda-uncapher.com
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