JAEEUN LEE — If you’re looking for a new feminist artist to follow, Susan Moore is your gal.
Moore is a painter, drawer, photographer and collage-maker. As a professor and chair of Painting at Tyler School of Art at Temple University she is focused on breaking the boundaries of art and expression.
Born in a big family in Coco Solo, Panama, Susan spent her childhood moving a lot where people didn’t know her and brought their emotions to her. Now, she enjoys time being alone in her studio and working by herself, which separates the artist Susan Moore from busy professor and mother Susan Moore. The subject of Susan’s art is always people who are unidentified. She chooses the subject based on how people think about being a subject. Some are willing to be Susan’s subject, but others are self-conscious.
She gave her artist talk at Denison on January 31 in the Knapp Performance Space, sharing behinds of her art works. Inspired by her big family, Moore likes to try different experiments on her work. The following day, the Denison Art Space in Newark held their opening reception for her exhibit “A Portrait Retrospective,” which will be on display from February 1 to March 8. The display will accumulate around ideas of representation and various diverse identities.
“I have five siblings that are all different but all related at the same time,” says Moore. Having a connection with the audience in the artist talk, she included that, “my brother was born in Ohio.” Her family moved a lot because her father was navy. There, the variations in her family led Moore to take photos of her grandparents and family and to pick up her styles to work in series. Sometimes, she takes photos to compare objects. Moore was also interested in models in fashion magazines. She took a picture of a model before she lost 31 pounds and took one after she lost her pounds, comparing the two.
She talked about aging without painting children and old people without showing their emotions. For that reason, a majority of her photos feature the backs of different people, or displays techniques such as blurring faces with paint sticks, tearing parts of the portrait down, and re-painting with different colors. As Moore considers herself as a feminist, she takes photos of women, including prostitutes, using light as an important tool. During the time when women were difficult to be representative, she adopted a modernist approach, using the picture plane.
Moore started her figure painting during her undergraduate in Yale School of Art and Music in 1976. However, she got challenged in the University of California-Davis where she finished her Master of Fine Arts degree by people who asked why her subject matters. There, she found what genuinely she likes to do in art; deterioration that really relieves her stress. Susan is now working on a new experiment– getting an image of people with different eyes, noses, and lips from the internet and making a collage.
“Try to experiment every time you paint and learn a lot from being artistic,” Moore advises Denison students.“Go from the personal base to your life. My portraits are all about me.” She now becomes more experimental at materials as she gets older. Featuring her strengths in deterioration, Moore paints people with powerful and conceptual strokes. Blue is her favorite color; the Moore likes to paint a sense of aging, not a sense of personality in the portraits.
Make sure to stop by the Denison Art Space in Newark sometime between February 1 to March 8 to view her 40 years of paintings in the making. The Denison Art Space is open Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment.