16/03/2022 - 08/05/2022
I am passionate about enameling and printmaking, in particular, the specialism of vitreous enamel on copper and wood engraving. I am influenced by landscape and patterns in nature, fascinated by the meeting point or transition from one form to another, where water meets the shore or when hard architectural shapes are reflected on the soft forms of water in a river or lake surface. My work evolves from observed detail captured by sketching then laying down the image onto the vessel or copper plate surface creating intricate thread-like lines and fine textural incisions to create an atmospheric, surreal aesthetic, distilling a sense of place, time and memory.
My training as an archaeologist and museum curator have inspired my artwork and I have been developing the idea of how human relationship with water has changed through different historical periods to the present day. The offering of votives to the water gods and goddesses, the metal artefacts that have been found at bridges, fords and causeways, in particular copper. The emergence of Christianity and the attrition of pagan god worship to the renaming and repurposing of water sites. Time moving forwards and the change to the wishing well culture of throwing of coins into fountains, padlocking love tokens to bridges and plastics in the sea. I am fascinated and saddened by our evolving relationship with water and as a wild swimmer, I try to reflect our changing relationship in my artwork.
Originally from Omagh, Susan is now currently based in Boyle in the west of Ireland where she is a printmaker and copper enamellist. Susan is influenced by landscape and patterns in nature, her work evolving from observed detail captured by sketching then laying down the image onto the block or copper surface. Susan has exhibited work nationally and internationally with her work being held in several public and private collections worldwide. She has been awarded several residencies including Cill Rialaig, Valerie Earley Award, Tyrone Guthrie Residency Award and the MI-Lab Mokuhanga six-week residency in Japan.
Susan’s work both embraces the tradition of enameling, and also seeks to push the boundaries of this form, by using multiple plates, three-dimensional forms and overlay colour. She is always striving to push the limits, experimenting with incised work and colour horizons. High firing of the vitreous enamels in the kiln pushes the enamels beyond their ideal firing point to produce some amazing colours and interesting effects caused by layering and cutting back through the levels and using sgraffito technique. Susan loves the process driven nature of this artform and the physicality of this work. She applies powdered glass to the copper surface and then fires the work at 950 degrees, causing the powdered glass to liquefy, forming a skin of glass on the copper surface. There is always an uncertainty to the outcome, which is rarely controllable, but always highly exciting and produces unique pieces with a strong tactile quality.