My current practice involves investigating that place where pain transcends to happiness, that special place where we rise from the darkness and see that glimmer of hope, like a phoenix rising from it's ashes. My work is feminist in nature and I stand strong as a survivor of sexual assault and abuse. My message is loud and clear: You can re-create the meaning of your past and through this the healing begins. For me, healing through art has been my way to share, express and break the silence.
I like to re-invent ordinary materials and transform them into emotional pieces that capture a mood usually presented in the form of abstracted symbolism. My art conveys a comparison of physical pain and plant life to represent the emotional body. My goal as an artist is to transform something as mundane as a piece of rope into a visual landscape that evokes a story, a memory, a sensation. The magic in transformation peaks my curiosity, like a caterpillar and its wings, this metamorphosis in materials captivates my interest. It is an underlying theme that punctuates all of my work. I investigate the concept of healing as metamorphosis.
I explore the play between plaster and textiles and I enjoy working with these materials sculpturally and conceptually. I have an affinity for plaster; to explore and inquire its territory, from liquid state to permanency and strength, in forever holding its shape and all things entwined within it. Plaster captures a moment, mood, memory in a solid state yet is so fragile, the tension between strength and fragility is a constant theme throughout my work. Textiles is also fascinating, it's a medium that has been used by women from the beginning of time and I feel a strong connection with its powerful history.
Abuse, assault, victimization, oppression, power, pain, forgiveness, hatred, surviving. When trauma occurs, these complex layers are felt simultaneously and separately. Healing from trauma is extremely complex and my art is a reflection of this trauma. It is a voice I use to stand up for myself, for women, for children, for humanity. I use layers of materials, emotions, art education and aesthetics to express these concepts and create awareness. My work stems from a personal experience with sexual abuse and so the trauma of violence against women and children, of rape and sexual abuse, of pain and of healing are the fuels of my art and I seek to use a universal language to reach all viewers, from all varying backgrounds.
© 2014 by Suzanne Laird