Mar 9, 2017

Artist in Focus:  Susan Grace

Article by Natasha Welsh. 
Cider Gallery Blog.  http://www.cidergallery.com/wad-blog/

March 9, 2017
Artist in Focus: Susan Grace
Art, Events
Susan Grace is a local Lawrence artist who uses her immense knowledge of classic literature to express notions of instability, memory, and human communication and connections.

Susan Grace is a professional painter living and working in Lawrence, KS. She has a long and illustrious career exhibiting in art galleries throughout the U.S., including: the ARC Gallery in Chicago, Riverside Art Museum in California, the World Trade Center and an assortment of local galleries. In addition to her frequent showings, the artist has garnered acclaim and various awards for her paintings. Most notable of these are special recognition and honorable mention by The Artist Magazine and the Upstream People Gallery Online in Omaha, NE. She is currently showing in the Re: Solution group exhibition on display at the Cider Gallery.

While not formally trained, her education on painting began in Athens, Greece. Before becoming a professional painter, she used her education in theater and literature to teach Literature courses to curious students. As such, her life-long study of the works of both American and European authors is considered by the artist to be a major source of inspiration for her artwork. She often describes her works in the form of poems and quotes from famous authors. As seen on her website, the artist draws her major inspiration from the works of Thomas Pynchon and Samuel Beckett, stating:

“In my paintings I explore issues related to disintegration, disorientation, instability, and attempts to communicate using some kind of written sign, including text translations and asemic writing [writing devoid of semantic context]. From shifting perceptions, unreliable memories…we construct an identity and a personal and sometimes briefly shared narrative of the past and a possible future.”

This notion is reflected in the most recent works of Grace, displayed on the walls of the Cider Gallery. These pieces, which merge and flow with sweeping lines and a muted color palette, are often punctured by swirling script. The script reflects writing, but is not recognizable as such. Instead, the juxtaposition of pastel text over shades of brown and orange expresses the artists ideas of textual translations that are both unreliable and yet fixed, reflecting the imperfection of memory. In the instance of these images, the following passage picked by the artist best describes the tension between recollection and the blankness of unconsciousness.
 
“She could, at this stage of things, recognize signals like that, as the epileptic is said to—an odor, color, pure piercing grace note announcing his seizure. Afterward it is only this signal, really dross, this secular announcement, and never what is revealed during the attack, that he remembers. Oedipa wondered whether, at the end of this (if it were supposed to end), she too might not be left with only compiled memories of clues, announcements, intimations, but never the central truth itself, which must somehow each time be too bright for her memory to hold; which must always blaze out, destroying its own message irreversibly, leaving an overexposed blank when the ordinary world came back.”
― Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)

“Blue Ciggy #2,” oil on canvas.
“He’s In Town Again,” mixed media on canvas.
“Staring Too Long,” mixed media on canvas, triptych.

Visit the artists webpage here: http://www.susangracestudio.com/