The State of Things

I am a news junkie. I read newspapers and listen to in-depth radio news programs and podcasts and am keenly aware of the rapid pace at which global events unfold. Add to this divisive local events and challenging personal experiences, and the world can feel overwhelming and chaotic. Yet while change and seeming chaos can be frightening they can be riveting, and at time even exhilarating. My work represents my response to this sense of dynamic chaos in the world and shows my struggle to find a balance between anxiety and optimism, between a desire to create order and beauty and a need to let go. I depict situations that are in flux yet held in tension.

I begin by photographing heaps of scrap metal reflective of our consumerist excesses, of our constant tearing down to rebuild our surroundings. I reorient the images to change their center of gravity then digitally turn them into line drawings, which I print and paint on top of. My intent is to create images that appear unstable, where there is a sense of excess, of tangled objects and forms in flux. Things might topple over or collapse. The space is not safe; it can feel menacing; yet it invites one to enter and spend time. There are worlds of detail, color, complex space, and subtle surface physicality to explore. Despite the chaos, the works offer an opening for discovery and invention.

— Susan Brenner


All material © 2018 Susan Brenner or the respective owners.