Five Alive--Susan Klein

Five Alive is where we ask people we admire five questions about their creative lives. Today Susan Klein shares her work.

Of Solitary Walks and Talking to the Sky, 2014.  32x40 in.  oil on panel  

Of Solitary Walks and Talking to the Sky, 2014.  32x40 in.  oil on panel
 

Susan Klein holds a MFA from the University of Oregon. She currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI and will be joining the faculty at the College of Charleston this fall. 

From Susan's Artist Statement:
I begin with a landscape painting, sometimes rural, sometimes urban. I then work over these representational paintings, referencing the visual world of objects. The result is an image that is observational, somehow recognizable yet ambiguous. The scale shifts from large to small within the painting, from landscape to still life, allowing for a multiplicity of possible interpretations. In my paintings, the horizon line is the only indication of scale, and acts as the way the viewer locates herself in relation to the space of the painting. The use of multiple horizon lines in an image serves as a way to unmoor the viewer. I like to think about the paintings as piles of time.  Although “time” is a universal, the paintings deal with the particular: the tension between two shapes, the quality of the color, the fact that the paintings all evolve from specific visual situations that I observe. Traces of hiding and revelation remain and the surfaces of the paintings show wear and tear. Irregular surfaces, architecture, botany, gnarly branches, fences, bricks – they swim together to create a dense visual obstacle course. 

Studio installation

Studio installation

What is your favorite art making tool?

Paint!

What music/band/artist are you listening to the most right now?

I am in love with Cymbals, I Break Horses, and Future Islands right now.

Where do you go for peace and quiet?

Wrapped plants observed on a solitary walk in Grand Rapids

Wrapped plants observed on a solitary walk in Grand Rapids

For peace and quiet, I tend to take long walks.  It helps clear my head and calm me down.  I also go to my couch with a book.  Going to Lake Michigan usually fixes me as well.

Where is your next dream travel destination?

Susan in her studio. Photo by Tommy Allen.

Susan in her studio. Photo by Tommy Allen.

I am going to the Arteles Creative Center in Finland this June...that is a dream destination, for sure.  I have always wanted to see the land there and experience 24 hrs of light.  I hear the sky at night is a very special blue color. 

Is there a color or palette that you are drawn to?

I try to consciously experiment with color in my paintings, but when I look at the body of work as a whole, I see I tend to use red/green often. And cobalt blue.  I love chromatic grays...that whole range of rich color that is very low in saturation.  Morandi was the best! 

Weathered Cement and Ladybugs, 2013, oil on panel, 40x32 in.

Weathered Cement and Ladybugs, 2013, oil on panel, 40x32 in.

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