Susan Harmon

Artist Statement

My work is a visual collection of emotion.

"My line is childlike but not childish. It is very difficult to fake... to get that quality you need to project yourself into the child's line. It has to be felt."Cy Twombly

All art surfaces are rich in color and texture, coming from my emotional, intellectual and spiritual states of being. My work is free from the boundaries of traditional picture making; thus, it is easier to explore my own psyche. Abreaction, a Greek term, first used by ancient Greek dramatists to describe the purging or cathartic effect that the release of emotion gives one, is an important part of my process.  The unleashed, splattering of gestural paint strokes on my huge un-gessoed and –un-stretched canvases, which was so much a part of the release of angst in Abstract Expressionism, are evident in my own work and combined with a textural layering of paint, sand, string, discarded drawings,  lead to expressive mark making in meaningful contexts evident in this body of art .  That the subconscious is at work, there is no doubt. These paintings were not made with only sheer logic in mind. Rather, painting is a journey, a process for me, that is almost scared and where I strive to prepare my subconscious for painting in a ritual which may involve a more pensive/meditative state of being. All of these artworks were informed by literature about people who have suffered trauma and their journey to survival. These artworks strive to heal and to evoke positive feelings in the viewer.

"My painting does not come from the easel. I hardly ever stretch my canvas before painting. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor, I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting. This is akin to the method of the Indian sand painters of the West... When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing. It is only after a sort of 'get acquainted' period that I see what I have been about."Jackson Pollock....."

These artworks embrace this attitude.They were made in this manner.They are mixed media on paper and /or unstretched canvas, painted tapestries,ranging in size from 3'x 5' to 15' x 5'.The titles and the inspiration of the paintings are taken from several books I have read about topics such as; The Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Lithuaniafemale homicides in Ciudad Juárez, called in Spanish feminicidio, Honor killings, Sex Slavery/Trafficking.Before I paint I go through a process which I call,"preparing my subconscious for painting"  in an almost sacred ritual.I was told this body of art looks like a wound and the stitches which sew up a wound, how apropos and that this art series looks like jazz.

My newest art series called Catharsis;born from grief of losing my oldest son to opiate abuse.

This series is dedicated to his memory, James Alexander Harmon; painter, political writer, musician, teacher, filmmaker, brother, son, friend to many, lover to one.He was a traveller, spending the last three years living and teaching and writing in Russia and Eastern Europe.

"What is white? It is the color of mourning because it folds all colors within it.  Mourning is also endless refraction, breaking you up into bits, fragments".  Edmund De Waal

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