Studio Visit: Susan Carr


Susan Carr is an artist living and working in Massachusetts.  Her work can be seen in PLEAT's September 2017 exhibition as well as

Please describe your work. 
My work is about the hunt for understanding.  One of my favorite songs is by Bjork "Hunter" and it speaks to me very deeply. I am actually hunting myself, I imagine smelling the images that I can barely see or understand that are about me, that complete me and my life will be about this and only this really when I get down to the bone of it.  My children are always with me their spirits are always with me.  I had a son who died a year and a half ago and this need for hunting has become very strong. When I work I am with him in a strange way and I am a child as well.  It is elusive because when you think you know exactly what you are doing your practice slips away and the sheer physicality of it comes back the need to hunt, to draw, to sculpt, to speak to the other that is within ones one soul.

What internal and external factors motivate your conceptual choices? 
My choices are determined by what I have around sometimes.  I never thought I would use spray paint.  I never thought I would use clay and I am making clay figures now.  I was a photographer at one point using a medium format Zenza Bronica in a wet dark room.  I use my iPhone now.  I am making sculptures using a jig saw. These are all hunting expeditions. I will use anything to make art and I like the idea of pushing myself farther out into deep waters.  Into the unknown is a place I like because for me it is full of possibility. 

Who are your artistic influences and what have you learned from them? 
My influences?  First off the women that raised me were full of determination even if I did not get the care I needed at times I can say the women in my home lived their own lives.  I was so surprised at how some girls lived because I was raised so differently. There was never an overt you can do anything even though you are a girl but it was in the air.  I look at thousands of painters sculptors installation artists photographers film makers everyone so great.  Who made me the person I am though?  I guess Louise Bourgeous, Phillip Guston, Mike Kelly, Ana Mendieta they are all so important to me for different reasons I just resonate with their work and think about them a lot. 

How has social media affected your studio practice?
Social Media has really changed the game for artists.  I remember sending slides in to calls.  Going weekly to galleries in Boston I liked so they could see my face and remember it.  Honestly it was such a drag.  I enjoy looking at other people’s work, I can see what is happening in Norway in the ceramic community or Irelands young new painters or England It feels really freeing.  I can imagine myself being there someday.  I have friends on FB and IG that I really appreciate.  I know their work have seen them change over time it is really wonderful.  Social media has its you know bad stuff but I really like the idea of putting something out there and seeing what people think.  I love looking at the work in my feed.  Constant studio visits bring them on!  As artists we need visibility and we need each other.  I am so grateful to the friends I have made because of social media.