mark-making, and the human condition

Honest. Mark-maker. Colorful. Informer of the human condition. That’s my take on Sue’s work and her process.

Here is an artist statement, and a few more choice works…

Sue Chenoweth explores memory, myth, and place through paintings inspired and informed by historical narrative, architectural forms, and zoological studies. Her research and travel catalyze the deeply personal content of her paintings, which bring to life a variety of subjects, such as swimming with great white sharks, mining the sub-basements of gilded-age estates, and following the migration of whales. Her work always traces a path back to the unity of the human psyche, and a universal understanding of the human experience.

Ghosts in the Clearing of the Great White Shark -detail
Gouache, acrylic, graphite, ink and Pantone paper
14.5 x 14.5″

Chenoweth often paints “pre-memories” of adventures before she experiences them, later investigating the similarities and differences between the “pre-memory” and the actual experience. By blending these intuitions, premonitions, and realizations, Chenoweth captures with her graphic media certain archetypes, common human experiences, and the surprising emergence of the extraordinary from within the everyday experience of being human.

I Saw Myself as a Great White Shark – detail
Gouache, acrylic, graphite, ink, Letraset and cardboard disk
14.5 x 14.5″

Fire on the Mountain and I am Feeling Fine – detail
Gouache, acrylic and graphite.
14.5 x 14.5″

I specifically ask Sue about the painting above. She comments, I see the fire on the mountain as a signal fire.  A survival fire. A wave to a friend.  I am here.  Like the other one with the light house [below].  A beacon.  I am here. But a fire can spread and quickly turn deadly.  The opposite of a signal.  Fire is a dichotomy in life.  It can kill us or help us survive.

Oh, to survive with a bounty of beauty, love and goodness.  Tending the fire to keep it contained and safe.

Futile Energy

Sue Chenoweth was born in Plainview, Texas. Sue received both her BFA and MFA (in painting) from Arizona State University.

Chenoweth’s work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, including the Cue Art Foundation in New York City, and the New American City at the Arizona State University Art Museum. Among many grants, awards and fellowships, Chenoweth received a Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship, a project grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Contemporary Forum Materials Grant from the Phoenix Art Museum and the inaugural Ensemble DevMan Print Project Grant as well as Studio Space at the Cue Foundation.

Chenoweth not only researches ideas for her own art work but is on the quest to find new, inventive and relevant art education.  Teaching is just as important to me as creating art.  I want to teach the language of drawing before it is gone forever. Children should be able to draw as easily as they speak.

In the fall of 2011 she will be a part of We’re All Still Here, opening at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.  The show, an alternative biennial, investigates ‘critical regionalism’ in the art world today.


About monica
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