Untitled Document

Text and Work - Rosemary Miles + Susan Stockwell

Date: 4 February - 4 March 2004

Abstract

Susan Stockwell is a London based artist. She exhibits in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally. Recent exhibition venues include: the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Shenghua Art Centre, Nanjing; Ambrosino Gallery, Miami and 20/21 Visual Art Centre, Scunthorpe.

Her work takes the form of drawings, collage, sculpture and installation. It is primarily concerned with transformation. The materials used are the everyday, domestic and industrial disposable products that pervade our everyday lives. These materials are manipulated and transformed into art objects. Vividly symbolic ‘maps’ of Britain, South America and Africa are literally ‘stitched up’ commodities. Constructed from tea bags, coffee filter papers and rubber tyre inner tubes, they question the historic and present day trading of luxury commodities, and address the post and neo-colonial implications of Global commerce.

Paper is the material most often chosen; maps, dressmaking patterns, teabags, coffee filters, waxed paper portion cups and toilet tissue are used to make objects that act as ready-made signifiers. The processes of working with materials - accumulating, stacking, sewing and quilting - manipulate and transform, sometimes minimally affecting the material in sensitive and subtle ways or highlighting characteristics, such as paper's ethereal and fragile qualities.

For example, Stockwell made a body of work from toilet tissue (1990’s), sponsored by Kleenex, who enabled access to huge industrial size rolls and sheets of fragile paper. The translucent floating sheets became light tunnels and huge ponderous stacks, alluding to monumentality and ancient civilisations; yet they were temporal and fragile, not easily recognisable as toilet tissue.

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