3rd Place recipient

Susannah Israel

from perception to realization…

The visual parade of urban life is a potent source for my inspiration.   Crisp and vivid or fleeting and fugitive, a constant montage of images provides me with rich reference material while at work in the studio. The figure takes the center stage, as narrator, actor and symbol.

My artistic practice is a fusion of planning, process, and discovery. I begin with a series of drawings to develop a concept; I make notes about clay color, texture and finishes; when working directly with the material, I am alert to its expressive possibilities.

My approach to my materials is a combination of well-practiced skill and reckless disregard for established convention. I tell students “Use all your options,” and I actually do take my own advice.  I willingly sacrifice lifelike anatomy to questions of composition and gesture. I use both high and low-fire clays.  A confirmed alchemist, I am always testing new formulas.  I use nontraditional materials with clay – paint, metal, found objects, – when they serve the work best.

There is an inherent paradox when working with so responsive a material as clay. Traces of touch – fingerprints, knuckle marks – are formed, moment by moment, with relentless fidelity. Such intimate contact of hand and clay remains far beyond the process, beyond even the life of the artist; it is a permanent record of impermanence.