Wednesday, February 17, 2010

5 x 5 Submission 64 - Susanna Bluhm

Susanna Bluhm
Susanna Bluhm's website
I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles, got my BA in Studio Art at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and my MFA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004. In 2005 I was an Artist-in-Residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and then at the Karl Hofer Gesellschaft in Berlin. My wife, artist Anna Callahan, and I moved to Seattle in 2006. I gave birth to our son Asher in 2008, and the three of us live with our dog in Cooper Artist Housing in West Seattle. I write Getting to Know You Better, a blog about my process of getting to know Seattle’s art scene. While my studio practice is primarily based in Painting, I am also invested in organizing and strengthening Seattle’s art community through writing, reading, and various creative projects. The ink is still wet on my acceptance letter to local artist-run gallery SOIL.

These paintings are the first six paintings in what will be a series of forty paintings. Titled The Song of Songs, this body of work is based on the Bible's Song of Songs (also called The Song of Solomon). The most erotic and beautiful part of the Bible, The Song of Solomon is a controversial love poem that has been interpreted in a variety of ways. These paintings are my queer, feminist, personal interpretation; the series will be a love song to my wife and son.

As abstract, landscape-based paintings, this series will communicate differently to different people (as is the case with most of my work). I’ve used text from The Song of Solomon for the titles (after changing the gender of the pronouns) as a way of sharing some of the more personal meaning behind the work. By not providing a literal translation of the visual elements, I have relinquished some control over what is read into the paintings. The person viewing a painting deciphers it within his/her own frame of reference, and is invited to enable the very act of looking to generate the meaning.