Sunday, March 8, 2009

Buried Voices

Encaustic-Based Paintings and Sculpture by Susanne K. Arnold

Installation of Buried Voices Etruria/Appalachia, 2-4

Archaeology has served for most of my artistic career as the metaphorical link in my search for the meaning of personal and cultural history. I have developed a vocabulary of images that, in their references as well as in the process by which they are created, implies the co-existence of past and present, memory and imagination. I use an encaustic wax, oil paint and dry pigment technique applied to the surface of paper-covered panels and laminated, roughly-carved polystyrene. The pitted layers of the medium suggests the layering of time and physical pattern by which archaeologists excavate the past as well as the progression of thoughts, memories and ideas that are unearthed as I work.

Since 1986 my work has been based upon my studies in Italy of excavated classical and Etruscan artifacts. As I have developed my Buried Voices and Buried Voices Etruria series, my imagery has expanded to include more personal metaphors, including the people, animals and events significant in my life. Although replicating the antique, the figures are based on friends and family who reminded me of Etruscan funerary sculptures seen in Tuscany. The backgrounds are based on photographs I took there and establish a spatial environment within a contemporary context.

Here all monuments of history confront us:
past and present cry aloud together.
--M. Scherer, Marvels of Ancient Rome

Drawing for Buried Voices Etruria/Appalachia, 1-5

Buried Voices Etruria, Nos. 1-4 Installation

Buried Voices Italy, Installation at Virginia Museum

Buried Voices Italy III, Nos. 1-12

Buried Voices Italy VI and VII

Buried Voices III