Susan Seubert at the 2017 Venice Biennale: Virtual Tour

My show at the 2017 Venice Biennale opened last week and there was much rejoicing.  This is a true milestone in my career as an artist, so a group of us gathered, drank Prosecco and toasted to the beautiful city of Venice.  I’ll be heading back later this year to the Palazzo Bembo, where the show, “Personal Structures,” will be on display until November 26th.  If you are going to be in Venice, this 15th century building is about a block from the Rialto Bridge and admission is free. If you can’t make it, here is a 360 degree view of the installation of my work, from the, “Asphyxiation” series.  You can also look at the work on my web site here.

 

Susan Seubert at the Froelick Gallery and the Venice Biennale

Susan Seubert at the Froelick Gallery and the Venice Biennale

For Portland Photo Month the Froelick Gallery has mounted an exhibition of my photographs entitled, “Not A Day Goes By.”

The 2016 rise of a racist, xenophobic, sexist, bigoted, extreme-right political climate in the U.S. presidential political cycle profoundly depressed me. Climate change in both its literal and figurative sense was being denied as a hoax. Lies and fake news were accepted as “politics as usual.” It seemed to me that America was smothering all the positive ideals historically it has stood for. Unbearable emotional pain motivated me to explore showing this issue visually as suicide.

The show is a body of work produced to illustrate suicide. The images in the series, “Manner Of,” present common objects used to take one’s life. The muted black and white palate and soft image quality of the print rendered on tissue paper is then further obscured by the encaustic medium. This treatment of the photograph underscores the veiled nature of the option of suicide. The portraits of people with their heads wrapped in plastic illustrate acts of asphyxiation. The cool tonality combined with the highly reflective, almost mirrored surface of the work adds a performative aspect to the piece: a glimpse of the viewer’s image is reflected, offering a space to contemplate suicide.

You can read a review of the show by Bob Hicks on Oregon Arts Watch here.

Five works from the “Asphyxiation” series will be included in the Personal Structures show, curated by the Global Art Affairs Foundation, at the 2017 Venice Biennale, and hosted by the European Cultural Center at the Palazzo Bembo.  This work will be on display from May 13 – November 26, 2017 in Venice.  For more information, you can download a press kit here.

 

artist: Susan Seubert, title: Asphyxiation #16, size: 40×30″ (101.6cm X 76.2cm), year: 2017, medium: metal photographic print

“Manner Of: Noose”, From the series, “Manner Of,” as part of the show, “Not a Day Goes By.” 12×12″ digital pigment print on silk tissue, edition of 10, 2017, artist: Susan Seubert

 

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Photographer Susan Seubert in Smithsonian Magazine

The April issue of Smithsonian Magazine features a photograph that I made on assignment in Washington, D.C. last November.  I was invited by the magazine to make an image of the Green Book, a guide first published in 1937 for African Americans who traveled by car and needed to navigate the segregated United States.  The magazine was started by Victor H. Green, a black postal carrier from Harlem.  It began as a slim, 15-page directory with recommendations in the New York area and listed safe places for black travelers to visit. These included gas stations, hotels, beauty salons, golf courses and even individuals who welcomed people into their homes.  The guidebook grew as people contributed to the directory and eventually this publication encompassed areas outside of the U.S. You can read the story here.  The image was created using the wet-plate collodion technique, known as an Ambrotype, a photographic process that dates back to about 1851 and was used as documentary photography tool during the American Civil War.  I have used this process for a variety of applications from magazine stories to personal projects.

The Green Book, photographed at the archives of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Green Book, photographed at the archives of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

 

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Susan Seubert’s Fine Art Exhibit, “The Fallacy of Hindsight”

"Entwined", 50x40", Digital Pigment Print from Wet Plat Collodion Negative, 2015, edition of 15, signed, numbered and dated on verso, model: Twinka Thiebaud

“Entwined”, 50×40″, Digital Pigment Print from Wet Plate Collodion Negative, 2015, edition of 15, signed, numbered and dated on verso, model: Twinka Thiebaud

April 2015 is “Photo Month” in Portland and to celebrate I’ve mounted an exhibition at the Froelick Gallery entitled, “The Fallacy of Hindsight.”

You can read a review of the show by David Stabler here.

“Looking back, all of us could have made different choices that would have affected our lives today. A job taken or not. A relationship pursued or not. A relocation at a pivotal moment. Susan Seubert’s small, evocative photographs at Froelick Gallery spring from her past, documenting choices she made over the past 25 years.”

The work addresses notions of hindsight bias and memory. In conjunction with the Photolucida Events, I’ll be speaking at the gallery on April 25th at 11am.  The talk is free and open to the public and I hope to see many of you there!  The Froelick Gallery is located near the intersection of NW Davis and Broadway at 714 NW Davis in the DeSoto Building.

Following is the press release:

“In her solo exhibit, renowned photographer Susan Seubert will exhibit two distinct bodies of work on the subject of hindsight bias. 100 Memories, a series of 100 5″ x 5″ photographs recreating moments from the past 25 years of her life, alternating between literal depiction and emotional interpretation of events. Through these she examines her own choices and biases. The High Arctic is a series of photographs taken in June 2014 in the archipelago of Svalbard, where “the vast fields of broken ice sheets demonstrate global warming in the most literal of lamentable illustrations”. Entwined, a stand-alone work, shows its subject holding a large ball of twine which wraps around her face, conjuring feelings of being bound by one’s own thoughts while also possessing the means to control them.”

Here is a glimpse of the installation:

The installation at the Froelick Gallery of Susan Seubert's show, "The Fallacy of Hindsight"

The installation at the Froelick Gallery of Susan Seubert’s show, “The Fallacy of Hindsight”

 

 

 

Wet Plate Collodion Photographer Susan Seubert shoots for Smithsonian Magazine 101 Objects Issue

This was one of the most challenging assignments I’ve had in recent years.  I received a call from my editor at the Smithsonian Magazine asking if I would be available to shoot in Washington, D.C.  It was going to be in July, (read: hot!), and would take about a week.  The editors at the magazine were busy coordinating  seven photographers from around the United States, including Dan Winters, David Burnett and Albert Watson, to photograph a collection of objects at various Smithsonian Museums. I have been working in wet-plate collodion for about five years now, and was surprised to learn the photography department was interested in that work for an assignment. It was the first time anyone had ever commissioned work from me based on my “fine art” portfolio.

The title of the issue is called, “101 Objects That Made America.”  The segment I photographed is entitled, “America In the World,” and all the objects that were chosen have to do with America as it relates to the world. You can see the pictures online here.

The pieces I was assigned to photograph span five centuries.  The oldest “object” was a Novus Orbis map from 1532, based on tales from Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci.  It depicts the world as round, which at the time was a new idea, South America takes up most of that hemisphere and Cuba is where North America lies.  The youngest object that I was assigned gave me the most pause and I felt a bit of a chill when the curators brought it to our makeshift studio.  It is from 2001 and was donated to the Smithsonian by the New York City police. The stairwell sign from the 102nd floor of one of the twin towers that was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11th was gently put on the set.  It had been found at the dump where the debris from the site had been taken in order to find any human remains or other significant evidence from that terrible day in American history.

When the issue was launched, the letter from the editor invited people to discuss the objects chosen for the special issue and to participate in a dialogue about what was included and why.  I cannot imagine the vetting process of choosing only 101 objects out of 37 million.  However, to be in such close proximity to things such as the Pocahontas engraving – the oldest piece in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection – was an extraordinary experience and one I will never forget.

The opening spread in Smithsonian Magazine for the section I illustrated, "America In the World."

The opening spread in Smithsonian Magazine for the section I illustrated, “America In the World.”

The second spread in Smithsonian Magazine where the oldest and newest objects are placed alongside a gas mask from World War I, the sign from the TV show, Mash, and a salvaged nuclear fallout shelter.

The second spread in Smithsonian Magazine where the oldest and newest objects are placed alongside a gas mask from World War I, the sign from the TV show, Mash, and a salvaged nuclear fallout shelter.

Photojournalist Susan Seubert in the New York Times: Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawaii

Earlier in October of this year, I was assigned a story by the New York Times to cover a piece that was both art history and travel.  What an adventure!  My husband and I live in Maui for four months a year, so it’s always great to have an excuse to head out and explore.  I didn’t know that Georgia O’Keeffe had spent time in the islands.  I was familiar with only one landscape painting of a waterfall surrounded by green cliffs by the artist, but I learned through the story that this painting was made by O’Keeffe after a visit to the lush Iao Valley on the island of Maui.  It was so much fun to try and see that area, an area that I’ve been familiar with for quite some time, through the eyes of Ms. O’Keeffe.  Although there was no missive to try and emulate what O’Keeffe painted, to try and see what she saw was a wonderful visual exercise.  When I started puzzling together the time of year she was there, it made sense that she may not have been as taken in if she had been there in the dry, early autumn as we were at the time of the assignment.  The waterfalls on Maui are fed by rainwater and currently the entire county of Maui is in a drought.  However, another more obscure painting of two papaya trees in the Iao Valley was equally daunting to emulate as she had superimposed the unmistakable shape of the tree on backdrop of that lush valley.  However, the majority of her time on the island was spent in the lush area of Hana.  The story is on the New York Times’ web site here, but I can summarize our experience of following in the footsteps of this great painter.  She had been commissioned by the Dole Pineapple Company in 1939 to produce two paintings promoting the pineapple company and was invited to Oahu to visit the plantation.  She was disgusted by the fact that Dole wouldn’t allow her to stay on a working plantation because it was considered, “unseemly for a woman.”  She immediately bailed on the project.  Kudos to Georgia!  Instead, after traveling around the territory of Hawaii, she ended up in Hana on the island of Maui where she created most of her paintings during this period.  These stories are well documented not only through letters to her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, but also by her unlikely Hana guide, a 12 year old named Patricia Jennings, who was the daughter of the plantation manager where O’Keeffe stayed in Hana.  Patricia is still alive and living on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The author, Tony Perrottet, interviewed Patricia and was able to put together a living guide to Georgia’s time in Hana and the places where Ms. O’Keeffee painted.  Those places are still intact and very visible to anyone willing to seek them out.  This type of approach to travel is wonderful – not only does one get to stand and see precisely the same thing that Georgia did, the writer incorporated other destinations including where to stay, what to eat and other useful travel tips.  For me, it was a treasure hunt.  Having visited Hana many times, I’ve never considered it through the eyes of one of the most important American painters.  Ever since my parents took me as a teenager to see an O’Keeffe exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute back in the ’80’s, I’ve long admired her work.  This story was also a first for me in another way: there were far more photos published in the printed newspaper than there were online.  These days, as a contributing photographer for many magazines, most of the visual content ends up not in print but online or in an iPad version, there’s still a thrill in seeing a large photograph running across two pages of the New York Times.  Please read the article here.  I’ve also put together a portfolio of the outtakes online here for your enjoyment.  Aloha and mahalo for visiting!

Georgia O'Keeffe's Hawaii
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawaii in the New York Times’ Travel Section

Fine Art Photography: Artist Susan Seubert shows at Kittredge Gallery and Blue Sky

I am pleased to announce the opening of a show at the Kittredge Gallery at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State.  The show opens today, August 21st and runs through September 22nd, 2012.

The show is entitled, “Nerve-Wracked,” and includes pieces from the series, “Panphobia,” and, “Neurasthenia.” Examples from the exhibit are below. 🙂

The opening reception is on September 5th.  Unfortunately, (or rather fortunately!), I have an assignment on the Oregon Coast at that time so I will not be in attendance.  However, I encourage anyone in the area to go and see the exhibition.

More information, including gallery hours and location, can be found here.

Information about Susan Seubert’s show, “Nerve-Wracked,” at the Kittredge Gallery

 

If you aren’t in the Puget Sound area, my work will also be included in a show opening September 5th at the Blue Sky Gallery/Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts  in Portland, Oregon.  The show is entitled, “The Unseen Eye.” My piece that is being shown is part of curator W.M. Hunt’s personal collection.  He purchased, “Neurasthenia #1,” and it has been chosen for exhibition at Blue Sky.

Title: “Equinophobia” Medium: Platinum Print, on view at the Kittredge Gallery from August 21 through September 23

Title: “Neurasthenia #1” Medium: Dry Plate Tintype, on view at the Blue Sky Gallery beginning Sept. 5th, 2012

To view more of my personal work, you can do so by visiting seubertfineart.com

If you are interested in purchasing available work, you may contact any of the following galleries:

The Froelick Gallery, Portland, Oregon

The Joseph Bellows Gallery, La Jolla, California

The G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, WA

Thank you for your time!