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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Art Sat Jan 09 2010

Susanne Slavick's R&R(...&R)

aoy_susane.jpgPittsburgh artists Susanne Slavick had a show open Friday, January 8 entitled R&R(...&R) in the northern most of the Cultural Center's Michigan Avenue galleries. Susanne works with photographs she finds on the internet of war, desolation and/or destruction. After finding the images she wants to work with, she often digitally manipulates them, but that is far from the beauty that is her artwork. Her poetic images come from her painting over these found photographs with gouache. Her use of contradiction and the way she hints at the unknown is uncanny and attracted me immediately.

dca_exhibitions.Par.28103.Image.-1.-1.1.gif.jpgThe piece that was getting a lot of attention while I was there was "Remorse: White Curtains." This piece was based off a photo of a building in which Susanne had painted thin white curtains billowing from its windows. The delicate way in which she painted the curtains and the obvious lack of people made the work eerie and have an overall feeling of desolation or desertion. These sorts of desolate feelings were not consistent throughout the show thankfully; part of the show also consisted of a series of desert landscapes in which Susanne painted this welling up of water from holes in the ground. These works read as hopeful. The style in which she painted these and most of her other pieces were derived from Persian masters.

Susanne's reconstruction of the destruction within photographs, digitally as well as physically, reminded me that we are not alone. These works, although sometimes screaming out for change, I see more as accepting of what can not be changed as well as an inner look to change oneself. Susanne has a deep rooted faith in humanity and spirituality, you see this as she exposes the unseen within the photographs she finds. A serious game of tug-o-war is being played on, and literally through, the wreckage of a car bomb.

Photographs, although sometimes seen as absolute facts are, like everything else, biased. Susanne Slavick, whose show will be at the Cultural Center through April 4, has a wonderful grasp of that bias-- sometimes exploiting it while other times turning it on its head. All that being said, at the end of the day Susanne is making beautiful work. Is it political? Sure it is. Is it academic? Without a doubt, it is, but you wouldn't know that except for the outrageous title cards which are sure to remind you.

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Susanne Slavick / January 9, 2010 6:54 PM

Hi Martin,

Good meeting you last night and thanks for your post. Just wanted to let you know that the medium is gouache (not gauche). It's an opaque watercolor. And my name is a German spelling: Susanne.
Thanks again for your kind and thoughtful response last night and now this ....

F. Toosi / January 30, 2010 9:53 PM

Susanne Slavick and Andrew Ellis Johnson will lecture on their work at Columbia College Chicago, with Slavick from 12:30-1:30 and Johnson from 2:00-3:00 PM in Film Row Cinema on the 8th floor of 1104 S. Wabash Ave.

FREE and open to the public!

F. Toosi / February 3, 2010 5:12 PM

I forgot to mention that the lecture will be on Thursday February 11th, 12:30 PM at Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash Ave. 8th floor. Hope to see you there!

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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