Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Featured Artist: Susan Still Scott


First of all, please introduce yourself to our readers that might not be familiar with you and your work.

Featured artist Susan Still Scott.

My name is Susan Scott. I use my middle name professionally because there are so many people with my name who are also artists. So I go by Susan Still Scott. I was born in Pennsylvania and have spent most of my adult life in the Boston area. I have always felt, since I was very young, that being an artist was part of who I am. I don't remember ever thinking about it. I was the kid who could draw. But I was fortunate to have a few remarkable teachers that I connected with in high school and college, and after. I went to Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia for my undergraduate work, one year of which I spent at Tyler's incredible program in Rome. I received an MFA Degree at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The focus of my studies was Studio Work and Art History, Painting, Drawing and Printmaking. However, officially, I majored in Graphic Design in order to work.

Currently, what type of job(s) you do besides making art? Do you teach, write and/or curate art exhibits?

For fifteen years I held design jobs, in-house and freelance, at various design and advertising agencies in Boston and Philadelphia. I have taught at Montserrat College of Art, and I'm very interested in curating, but I hold myself back from doing very much of it. It's very important to me to keep every moment I can focused on my studio work, something that is for my studio work, or looking at art. The details of my paying jobs aren't very interesting.

Can you give our readers some insight into your work in general? Would you like to share a bit your creative process with our readers?

I work with traditional painting materials, or materials that are closely related or that remind me of something you would use for a painting.

Susan Still Scott, Pane, mixed media

For example, I use canvas and linen, but I have also used cotton duck in various colors, linen made for other uses (clothing, table cloths, needlepoint....) again, in various colors.

Susan Still Scott, Trophy Painting, mixed media

I use some kind of a wooden support - usually a stretcher or part of a stretcher, or something that seems like a suitable stretcher or panel to begin with.

Susan Still Scott, Black Ecstatic, mixed media

Sometimes I end up removing whatever support structure I started with, or I replace it with something else.

Susan Still Scott, Saddle Sewn, mixed media

I use any kind of paint really. I try to keep it archival by using oil or acrylic, flashe, gouache or casein. I like to use different paints on the same piece because of the differences in the surface, viscosity and flexibility. I like to experiment with mediums too. Silicone is a lot of fun to use with oil paint.

Susan Still Scott, Mugpee, mashpee, mixed media

I get inspired by other art, basically. Contemporary abstraction, Italian quattro cento painting, folk art.... I don't consciously refer to any subjects outside of art, really. I suppose it is the language in the creative process that keep me hooked.

Susan Still Scott, Turtle Shirt, mixed media

"Pictorial abstraction and objecthood wrestle in my paintings. As dual entities they have to compete and co-operate and ultimately reconcile before I consider what I have in front of me finished. Almost any object like a scrap of wood, a cardboard box or a wire frame can replace the ubiquitous rectangular plane, confound the very definition of it, and still be the foundation of a painting--- like an umbilical to the wall. Each part is made with the idea of reconfiguring it as many times as it takes to progress. This process of restructuring abstract formal relationships can begin to suggest autobiographical content, but I never allow concrete references to take hold. Subjective readings are as integral to my work as the sensual encounter with color, image, surface and form. The physicality of a particular piece informs how I paint it, as the developing image changes how I see the form. I enjoy having the sense that something is happening, possibilities that I can't completely know, while at the same time I'm sure of it's visual and physical integrity." - Susan Still Scott

Do you have plans for your direction?

I really don't plan the direction of my work. I may have a general idea of say, I want to use a lot more paint, or I don't want any straight lines. When something unexpected happens with my work, there's usually a reason for it. I'll go with it and see what it tells me. It gets more consistent with experience and maturity. You learn how to trust these things.

What is the most interesting comment about your work you have heard from a viewer?

Susan Still Scott, Teach a man to Sew, mixed media

"You're not a painter."

That was said to me by a sculptor I admire and he was serious. It twisted how I looked at what I was doing, in a way that allowed me to understand a lot more about why I was working the way I was. It was a valuable comment. It was sincere and I knew it came from a knowing place. I think he said it because of the way I carry them around.

Please share with us the awards and recognition you received in the recent years.

I was awarded the honorary Ilse Getz Danes Residency at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, and another at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH.

How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

I hardly ever stop working. If I'm not in the studio, then I'm doing the business side at home. It never ends. But it's really important to get out too, to shows and openings. Ultimately, most things happen because you've been present and because you've put in the hours.

What had inspired you to join Kingston Gallery? Did you find the support you are looking for in this artist-cooperative gallery?

Joining Kingston was something that came up unexpectedly a couple years ago when I had a lot of work ready to show and nowhere here (in Boston) to show it. I'm not sure I was looking so much for support (although it's certainly there) as I was looking for a place to work out ideas in a non-commercial venue.

Kingston Gallery is located at 450 Harrison Ave. #43, Boston, MA. For more information please call 617-423-4113 and/or visit the gallery’s website.

What galleries have you recently exhibited in?

In the past year I have had solo shows and participated in member shows at Kingston Gallery in Boston.

Installation view of Susan's solo exhibition Make-do and Mend, again at Kingston Galllery in Boston.

I also had my first solo museum exhibition at the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham, MA from September through November 2010.

Installation view: Susan Still Scott solo exhibition at Danforth Museum of Art.

Susan Still Scott, Teach a Man to Fish, mixed media, 2010

My solo show at the Danforth Art Museum was followed by a group show, Informal Abstraction curated by Scott Grow held at the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art from December 2010 through January 2011. This exhibition featured 32 artists from the United States, Germany, Spain and Japan to focus on the diversity of practices within painting and abstraction today.

Susan Still Scott, Little Slider, acrylic and flashe on canvas and stretcher pieces, 15 x 14 x 2 inches, 2011

Corporeality, and Other Things of Grace and Sophistication, my first solo show in New York City was held at Heskin Contemporary in 2011.

Susan Still Scott, Domestic Use, mixed media, 18 x 8 x 3.25 inches, 2010

Installation view

Installations view.

Susan Still Scott, Black Ecstatic, mixed media.

Also, that same year, I had my first solo exhibition Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered at John Davis Gallery, in Hudson, NY.

Susan Still Scott, Typical Me, acrylic on canvas, staples, stretcher bars, 56 x 38 x 6 inches

Susan Still Scott, Scout, oil and acrylic on canvas, polyfill, thread, duct tape

Susan Still Scott, Blankelet, acrylic on canvas,wood, raw linen

Susan Still Scott, A Serious Situation, acrylic, oil and silicone on canvas, staples, wood. Approx. 22 x 26 x 6 inches

In August 2011, my work was included in Major Grey, a show of 2-D work that addresses the color grey at Geoffrey Young Gallery in Great Barrington, MA.

Susan Still Scott, Moving Image, oil on canvas and velvet, 2011

Would you like to inform our readers of your current and upcoming exhibits?

I am currently having an exhibition of paintings and sculptures entitled Swell Spot, beginning January 4, running through January 29, 2012. This will be my third solo exhibition at Kingston Gallery in Boston.

Swell Spot Invitation card

An opening reception will be held on Friday, January 6, 5:30 - 8pm. All are welcome. The gallery is located at 450 Harrison Ave. #43, Boston, MA. Kingston Gallery is open Wednesday- Sunday,12-5pm, and by appointment. Please call 617-423-4113 and/or visit gallery’s website.

I am among the 28 artists participating in Textility, a large group show at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey curated by Mary Birmingham and Joanne Mattera from January 13 - April 1, 2012. This exhibition is a comprehensive group survey that examines the influence of textile materials and techniques on contemporary art forms. Opening Reception is on January 13, 6 pm - 8 pm. For more information please visit website.

Textility invitation card.

My work will also be included in They?, a group show of six women artists from around the globe in Sainte Marie d’Alloix, France, curated by Roland Orepuk.