Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Great Power of Words In Art: An Interview with Susan E. Evans

On Tuesday, October 6, Susan E. Evans gave a lecture to Chester College students in the Wadleigh Library Conference Room as part of the college's Visiting Artist Symposium.

Evans, a conceptual artist who works in photography, video and new media, uses her work to explore concepts of identity, landscapes, and the categorization of information. "I am fascinated how identity, like language and photography, is based on context as well as what is connoted and denoted,” she said. “Who we ‘are’ versus who we want people to think we are. I enjoy playing with the overlaps and disparity of this, which affects the way we identify value, categorize, and define…all of which are based on cultural and or socioeconomic biases."

Seeing an evolution from Egyptian Hieroglyphics, to modern advertising and marketing, Evans utilizes text in much of her current work. "I think words have great power and I use them in a variety of contexts,” she said, “but usually to similar ends—to explore how the human brain processes and catalogues information, point out the parallels between the notions of language and grammar and what is called visual language and as a means to make the work subjective to each viewer.

"Generally speaking I am interested in a postmodern deconstructivism and the semiotic application of text,” she continued. “I am also interested in experiential text as well as subverted imagery."

Evans spent the previous summer living in a tee pee and learning wet plate photography, a 19th century photographic process, with a Fellowship from Oakland University. In March of 2010 she will be lecturing on her project titled "The Color of Skin" at the 47th National Society of Photographic Education.

--Renee Mallett

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