Starting with family history as a platform for narrative, I expand the proportion of these stories to create a new fiction. Using myself as a model allows me to anchor memory and invention with the urgency of painting from life.
This most recent body of work is based on "As Others See You: The Story of Plastic Surgery", a book my great grandfather wrote in 1938. This was his attempt to introduce the public to what was then a revolutionary concept: that medicine had the ability to help people improve physical appearance and redefine personal identity. Since my own painting uses self-portraiture to adopt and reconcile new identities, I play all roles; doctor, nurse, patient, and friend in waiting. Ultimately his career was dominated by scandal and his license was revoked two years before his death in 1949. His surgical obsession with the aesthetics of the head and figure fascinate me as a painter.
These new surgery paintings express the inherent contradictions in his work: the necessity of precision vs. the risk-taking of invention, the power to heal vs. the fostering of insecurity. I look for the good and the bad in his past, and as I draw and paint I am questioning who is the victim, the villain, or the hero in both of our stories.
born: 1981, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Indiana University, MFA, 2008
University of Pennsylvania, BFA, 2004
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Certificate, 2003
The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, 2009 and 2007
The Faculty Award, Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, 2003
Scheidt Traveling Scholarship, Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, 2002
The Improper Bostonian, "Jumping Off," Volume 19 Number 18, p.71, 2010
Boston Globe, "Back to the Drawing Board", McQuaid, Cate , p.7, October 7, 2009
Oranges & Sardines Poets and Artists, Volume 2 Issue 5 "Suzanne Schireson", Menendez, Didi, pp. 94-99., 2009
selected solo or two-person exhibits
As Others See You, Buoy Gallery, Kittery, ME, 2012
Odd Jobs, Rogers Gallery, Berea College, Berea, KY, 2012
Drawing and Document, Nichols College, Dudley MA, 2011
Summer Sick As Love, Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA, 2010
selected group shows
Ecorea Jeonbuk Biennale, Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do, Jeonju, Jeonbuk, Korea, 2012
Chain Letter, Samson Projects, Boston, MA, 2011
Prince Street Gallery Annual National Juried Exhibition, Prince Street Gallery, New York, NY, 2011
The Artist Revealed, Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH, 2010