A basic tenet of the creative process is transformation: the altering of reality so that the artist's expression can exist as something new altogether. I believe that one of the essential functions of art is to make the familiar appear somehow unfamiliar, to make reality a little strange. As a painter I am attracted to common objects and the stories their visual relationships can tell. Through the process of studying objects and contemplating the potential found in their relationships, I have come to appreciate the fact that objects themselves have the power to absorb and reveal both human and divine demeanor. I like that connection.
I am attracted to the mystery and transformative power of metaphor. In my early investigations my attention was primarily focused on the beautiful elegance and refined delicacy of a simple silver bowl and the stories its attributes can convey. The bowl intrigues me as a stimulating, playful, and technically challenging subject to paint. Unpretentious in design, yet complex in its fascinating visual surface, I appreciate its historical tradition as well as its innate symbolic evocation of purity, refinement, and redemption. Often given as a trophy or prize for a notable accomplishment, the physical existence of this vessel has been tempered by fire, and through that ordeal stands redeemed. As I gaze at this vessel I see these distinctive physical and symbolic qualities as a compelling parallel to the characteristics of Christian faith. The attributes of both are eternal and enduring, mysterious and profound, joyful and abiding. The essence of this vessel is its openness. It waits to be used, and at times seems to be filled with a distinct but indefinable presence.
The dignity and transcendence of such beauty has become a driving motivation in my current endeavors. I seek the still life not only for the familiarity of its forms, but to elevate the humble, and to find the infinite in the ordinary. Clear vessels, fabric, paper, ribbon, silver spheres, and simple objects of nature not only intrigue me as technically challenging subjects to paint, but I see them as consecrated objects. By elevating each of these forms to a place of intellectual contemplation I am motivated by the mystery of what is yet to be. As I work I attempt to portray something that isn't visibly in place but can become evident if one takes the time to ponder the relationships that are presented.
As a source for the sacred my images are intended for divine questions. This concept is one of incarnation. I also see my images as devotions, where silence, solitude and simplicity work together to reveal something mysterious and something significant about the relationships presented. By lifting the commonplace to a state of contemplation I venture into that strange space where ultimately the viewer is invited to pause and think about what an image conveys rather than complacently accept what is visually offered as familiar or expected. My images reproduce the look of the visible world, but simultaneously offer something beyond mere physical appearances in revealing something greater, something deeper. I believe these images tap into everyone's spiritual realm in some way. I like to think that they are reminders of what we already know, but because the familiar is now somehow unfamiliar we pause as we are brought into the realm of transcendence, to the realm of revelation, even if there is no verbal explanation for them.
Copyright Susan Savage 2017