Feature Dates: April 1 – June 25, 2022
On view at River Arts on Water Gallery (590 Water St, Prairie du Sac, WI) and online
Reception: Thursday, April 7 from 5:30-7:30pm*. Artist talk begins at 6pm. 10% off all artwork in the gallery during reception!
River Arts is pleased to feature two of our gallery artists for the months of April, May, and June. Susan is a jewelry artist specializing in wire work and stones. She loves to incorporate techniques from other medias in her process, such as wire knitting and color theory. Suzanne is a mixed media artist specializing in fiber, textile, and paper collage. On view for a limited time only!
Susan Baez Artist Statement:
I like to think of my jewelry as an extension of myself. My pieces become a part of me that I’ve molded, nurtured and caressed into being. Though I do not have any formal training in jewelry construction; I have a college degree and professional designations in Interior Design.
I’ve enjoyed creating things for as long as I can remember and over the years have worked in a wide variety of mediums: garment construction and other sewing projects, knitting, needlework, weaving, basketry and watercolors. A large part of the satisfaction I get from the creative process is not only the balance of color and spaces but figuring out the positive and negative properties of a material and how it can be used in the construction process.
I was introduced to wire work and jewelry construction applications by my sister and have been hooked ever since. I especially like to find ways to incorporate construction processes from other mediums to metal. I enjoy nature and am outside as much as I can and am constantly amazed by the beauty and intricacy of what nature has created all around us and try to incorporate nature into my work either through the use of materials or the energy that nature provides. Rocks have been something I have been picking up and collecting as long as I can remember and have now found a way to incorporate them into my work along with semi precious stone and lampwork glass beads. My respect for nature drives my concern with recycling and to that end I have been fascinated by the concept of incorporating found objects into my work as well.
Suzanne Gernandt Artist Statement:
When I was very young, my mother would take four or five of those wooden kid puzzles and spill them on the carpet in front of me, all jumbled together. I would patiently sort through the pieces until patterns emerged and separated into distinct scenes. Slowly, under my small busy little hands, the puzzles were solved.
This is the same strategy I use today in my mixed media textiles. I construct abstract art from a excess of materials: found fabric, papers from various sources, paint, inks, stains, stitching, and natural materials. Moving pieces around, turning them, adding color and thread: the composition begins to take form. Then there is more stitching, painting and cutting and reassembling. And so it goes until a new puzzle is solved.
In my studio, I experiment with tools, materials and ideas. It can be risky, with hours of effort sometimes ending up in the ugly bin. But I don’t look on it as a waste. It teaches me what not to do the next time, and it teaches me that staying open and vulnerable is key to creating anything of value.
My art explores the puzzle pieces that are our lives, moving around, shape shifting, turning until we’re in the place we want to be. Here it is in the words of the old Shaker song, Simple Gifts:
‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free,
‘Tis a gift to come down, where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
A transplant to Wisconsin, after 30 years in the Appalachian Mountains, I have grown to love the big open skies and fields of the prairies.
My newest work is a response to the light, the expansive horizons and the rich color subtleties in the prairies around me. Living on a prairie marsh supplies me with a complex color palette.
My textile pieces suggest this open countryside and their construction serves as my reminder to be contemplative and appreciate the simple beauty around me.
*COVID-19 Safety Information for In-Person Reception: (Subject to change based on CDC recommendations)
- Maximum 50 people in the gallery at one time (less than 50% of our building capacity)
- Masks recommended, regardless of vaccination status
- Complimentary food and beverages provided outside on our river deck, weather permitting