The things I make— collage, assemblage, mixed media— are hybrids, internally diverse and externally beholden to a broad range of influences, from African masks to Renaissance Madonnas to the Merzbau of modernist Kurt Schwitters. Story-like, the pieces are narrative, but broken into fragments; their subjects, often women, recognizable but not exactly real. I wish to make something which invites many levels of interpretation, rather than dictating a single idea. In my pieces, backgrounds are often ambiguous (heavily patterned, black or abstract), suspending the image in a visual limbo, precluding fixed meaning and urging the viewer’s interpretation. In this sense, the work is incomplete, purposely so, propelled outward as is, into the unknown.
For Lucian Freud and his model, Leigh Bowery
The artist means to take control; ribboning linen,
preening paint (ochre, ebon, gold!), laying
light in oily waves to an image
he creates: one absurdly out-sized, nude,
hairless man, mounded bellies hung over dancer’s gams,
long mauve penis ripening with blood
while eyes once lost in a sea of fat and skin
press forward to command, first the painter,
then those who stand in the gallery gaping.
Susan Wallack, reprint from “Threepenny Review,” Vol. 19