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Artist Susan Klein

Susan Klein is an artist living in Charleston, SC. She has shown her work nationally and internationally. Klein is a 2020-2021 recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Other awards include the 2023 Artist-in-Residence at the Dunedin School of Art in New Zealand, a Hambidge Center Residency, Watershed Center for Ceramics Art Residency, Wassaic Project Residency, residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, a full fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, an Ox-bow Artist-in-Residence Summer Fellowship, an Otis College of Art and Design Summer Residency, and residency at Arteles Creative Research Center.

Klein received her MFA in 2004 from the University of Oregon, a BFA in 2001 from the University of New Hampshire, and studied art at NYU from 1997-99. She is an Associate Professor of Art at the College of Charleston, where she has taught painting since 2014.

"I make ceramic sculptures and paintings that use abstract architectural and organic forms. Through loose, improvisational handling of materials, I create playful work that results in idiosyncratic structures. The inner and outer worlds I experience collide in the work. My work is meant to be felt in the body like a rush of energy. Color joyfully erupts, lighting up the eyes and the mind. I think about John Ruskin, who so loved grass as a child, he wanted to eat it. He channeled that need into detailed drawings. I, too, am overwhelmed by a need to consume the world and process this through making. Color and shapes often have a taste, touch, or bodily feeling associated with them in my mind; the creation of the work is a full sensory experience. I think of the work I make as offerings, devotional objects, and invocations. A thread that has run through multiple projects concerns the way that people imbue objects and images with the power to hold memory, tie the living to the dead, and connect past to present. A common object becomes a sacred vessel, often passed down through generations. It becomes a conduit between two worlds and multiple times.

Tell us a little about yourself (where you are from) and your background in the arts.

I am from Morristown, NJ. I always did all the arts seriously (dance, theatre, creative writing) but ended up choosing visual art for its marriage of the physical and the cerebral (and the fact that it didn't matter what my body or face looked like!).

I attended my dream school, NYU, for art but had to transfer after 2 years. I continued my study at University of New Hampshire and then University of Oregon, where I got my MFA. Since then I have been making work and teaching art pretty much non-stop!

What kind of work are you currently making?

I am making paintings on silk and ceramic sculptures- some of which I glaze, and some of which I oil paint. All of my current work is symbolist in nature. I am thinking about creation, ritual, devotion, and energy systems. Also touch, and learning through tactile experience.

What is a day like in the studio for you?

My days are often broken up, since I teach full time. I have gotten good at doing a lot in 2 or 3 hour segments. When I do have longer days, I tend to focus on either clay or painting. I usually listen to fiction on Audible (currently I am listening to all of Dickens) and get going. I take breaks for walks or going to the gym. If I don't get enough outside time or movement, it can be hard for me to focus! I never work later than 9pm or earlier than 8am. I like to sleep!

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

I just finished reading 9th St. Women, which was gossipy, inspiring, and informative. My colleague loaned me E.E. Cummings "The Enormous Room", which I have just started. I always read the New Yorker over breakfast- it's my tradition!

Where can we find more of your work? (ex. website/insta/gallery/upcoming shows)

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In addition to these honors, Susan Klein has been the recipient of various prestigious awards and residencies. Among them is a residence in the Hambidge Center, a residence in By the way, here is article Depositphotos blog , and will talk about the origin of brown, its symbolism and possible color combinations. Brown is a color often associated with nature, earth, warmth and comfort. Studying its origins and meaning in different cultures can add new dimensions to the perception of this color.
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