Curators’ Comments about After Migrations:

“... a theme of much of the artist’s recent work, which is concerned with approaching the biological and physiological, the very real which we all must confront, alternately via the application of paint or of technology. The creative impetus for Brenner seems to stem from the conflict between intellect and corpus. It was in part was the artist’s desire to return to the physical experience of painting that led her to create these works.

Brenner’s paint application, confident and often sensuous, helps to draw the viewer into some ambiguous and unsettling spaces. More than describe it, the paint’s qualities allude to its ropey, intestinal subject, and successive paintings show an increasing concern with the inherent possibilities of the medium. The After Migrations paintings are autonomously engaging and allow us to touch as well as to see with our eyes.”

Paul Bright
After Migrations exhibition brochure
© 2006 Wake Forest University Galleries

Curators’ Comments about Migrations:

“For Brenner, the twisted and distorted objects morphing across the printed surface of her images reference the on-going metamorphoses that occur on the scientific and social levels in today’s world as well as those within our bodies. These forms may recall body fluids and internal pathways, microscopic images of mutating cells or the world’s rivers and streams, but their meaning remains ambiguous, conjuring positive, as well as sinister, effects of biological developments and technological innovation.”

Virginia B. Spivey, Guest Curator
NCAC Fellowship Recipients 2004/5 exhibition catalog
© 2006 Asheville Art Museum

“The artist’s new medium, neatly combining her interests in painting and photography, shows to advantage her conceptual gifts — and has enabled her, in Migrations, to expand upon metaphorical implications … The final print, in lush, artificial colors, though a near-abstraction, courts exegesis. Discernible in each of the works on view, braided rope connotes the biological —the intestines, for instance, or DNA’s double-helical spiral. With that suggestive concept in mind, one can intuit references to muscle, tissue, guts in these strange hybrid forms. The artist stresses the physicality of the human body … One might think of fluids forced under pressure to find their way through a confined space, pushing up against the unmovable and supplanting the unstable … Brenner’s work elliptically alludes to the transforming migrations that define the life process-of the human body and the body politic.”

Huston Paschal
Crosscurrents: Art, Craft, and Design in North Carolina exhibition catalog
© 2005 North Carolina Museum of Art & The Mint Museums

“Maybe, like Susan Brenner, you’ll become fascinated by the way one thing can look like another, the way things come together and move apart, oozing and dripping and smearing so that one minute you’re thinking wait—is that a big rope seen at life size or a small thread blown up 30 times? Is this yellow lake liquid or solid? That green blob organic or chemical? Are these paintings or photographs or did Brenner make it all in the computer? Can a large digital C-print simultaneously invoke depth and flatness, abstraction and reference, thick textile and slick plexi? … make us stop, look at the details, and really think—what are we looking at, how does it relate to us, to our bodies, to our fantasies, to our sense of self? Are we outside looking in, or inside looking out, or both? Dare we say visceral and beautiful in the same sentence?”

Kirstin Ringelberg
Deliberate/Interference 2005 unpublished essay

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