Breaking the Spine: Susie Grant
B.A. University of California, Berkeley
SELECTED GROUP SHOWS
AWARDS AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
2009 City of Walnut Creek Library Project
Found books, sheet music, pamphlets: printed material that was discarded and no longer appreciated *is the source for the medium of the work. I find great pleasure in the use of these materials because *they function as an antidote to the create-consume-dispose culture in which we live. This typography *and images have survived for 30, 50 or 100 years despite the 24 hour news cycle, around-the-clock *cable TV, satellite radio, blogs and Blackberries. It was created in a mechanical age and shows the *wear of time, environment and use. Working with this material is fundamentally humanizing because *there is not only a connection to the past but the earth (dyes on wood.) It is wonderfully antithetical *to the short attention span of our digital age.
The pinned collage, is the product of two main influences. As I searched bookshelves *and bins for collage material I found century old dictionaries and encyclopedias. When I opened them *I was struck by the illustrations living within the pages. i was intrigued by the intricate and pristine *beauty of these highly refined "technical drawings". These immaculate renderings were created by *hand before the digital age, with an actual pen to paper. They are like precious specimens destined *not just for disposal but perhaps threatened by extinction with our digital age. Carving out the printed illustrations from the page, I pin/display them, elevated in a box frame commonly used for the *preservation and appreciation of insects. As I assemble them in the frames, what develops is a type *of diorama that unites the past with the present, each with a unique story to tell. This technique *of pinning the paper pieces has expanded to include more then these precious century old illustrations. *i enjoy working with printed images, text and aged paper of the more recent past as well. By re-using *and re-configuring them i hope to redefine their use and meaning.
Also influencing this new work are our current issues of "fair-use", where ownership, and creative vs. commercial use are being redefined for our digital age. Copyright laws were created at a time when *copies were the exception. Now, with the "sharing economy" making copies is a common daily practice *in both our business and personal lives. As always sharing, repurposing and creativity often can find *themselves in conflict with commercial interests.
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