Susan Greer Emmerson has exhibited extensively throughout the Midwest and Boston area. She also has performed duties as a juror and a co-curator, and has twice been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, as well as a residency at the Torpedo Factory in Virginia.
Originally from the Midwest, where she practiced for nearly two decades as an ear, nose and throat surgeon prior to receiving her BFA in Painting from Illinois State University and her MFA from Lesley University College of Art and Design in Boston. Her work appears in the permanent collections of the Grove Hall Public Library in Boston and the Bloomington-Normal Transportation Center and City Hall in Illinois.
“All art is here to prove, and to help one bear, the fact that all safety is an illusion” - James Baldwin
My work is an exploration of the picture plane; it delves into that surface between wall and the environment and expands that surface for the viewer to follow. My drawings and paintings rise off the wall into three dimensions, forming shadows and caverns which in turn incorporate themselves into the the work itself. Using surfaces of paper, Tyvek (a plastic paper), and canvas I explore below these surfaces and expand them outward by heating, sanding, cutting, gluing and plastering and incorporating the structure into the imagery. I use unexpected materials to examine our emotional connection to both the external built environment and the internal environment of the human body.
In my most recent body of work my imagery is that of creating and destroying; of depicting the horrible violence that natural storms, worsened by human mistakes, can do to our structural environment and to our fellow humans. My wall sculptures depict disheveled, broken surfaces where Tyvek painfully peels away like paint or skin, exposing a raw inner core. Everyday objects become precious; I use their bits and pieces as signifiers of the lost reassurance of a safe and intact home. I manipulate Tyvek so that it jumps off the wall to become an object; its organic shapes echo waves, wind, and the contortions of the earth as visits another storm on its human inhabitants. My work exists in the space between image and object; between the picture and the palpable.
The drawings I make are meditative renderings of the ridiculous and horrifying scope of the violent destruction of our now insecure world. They serve to present a different aspect of the question of what a home is and what happens to our human spirit when the physical safety of home is destroyed. I want my work to touch the viewer and help them hear the ineffable scream of the homeless soul.
Susan Greer Emmerson
For more information about my process watch the video below.