Susan Handwerker

I live and work in Brooklyn, my hometown. I make ceramic sculpture, mixed media collage and assemblage, and paintings on various supports. My sculptures often include human figures, usually female in narrative tableau. My collages tend to be more abstract. This creates a kind of working dialogue and provides balance. I tend to work in a spiral sequence, with several recurring themes advancing and receding over time.

In addition to art making, I have worked as an art educator, mentor and curator, and am currently Co-President of Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where I have been a member for 25 years. I am dedicated to the idea that art is everywhere and for everyone.

My work has been exhibited in galleries and museums nationally and internationally. A detailed CV is available upon request.

I began making ceramic boats some years ago, after researching global myths and indigenous rituals, which used boats as a way to transport the spirit as well as the body. I found boat forms associated with death and transformation. I also found in them a way to explore the vessel form (pun intended) in clay. Throughout history the world has seen groups of people using boats to escape from intolerable circumstances. In modern times, people from around the world have, at times, sought refuge elsewhere. There have been voyages of discovery and adventure, and boats used for research, leisure and aesthetic purposes. We stand at a confluence of global events that have created a perfect storm of climate change, social change, political upheaval and economic instability. It is a world in which our spirits again need to escape, to seek refuge, to transform. And now we have this pandemic virus, making the idea of physical travel even more challenging. So I am making boats again. The ones seen here, In The Same Boat and Same Boat 2 have figures. I use five different clays, each a different color, to make my figures. In the Same Boat employs all of these, with obvious results. Same Boat 2 contains four figures, with only the two colors-black and white. The black and white figures interact with each other. Are they getting away or going toward? Are they helping one another? Are they climbing in or out?

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