Getting Ready For A Show

michael mac 2

Add It Up-Michael Wilson

This week finds us buzzing around the studio. We are getting ready for a solo show at The Mendocino Art Center in April. I must say the wonderful support the center has given The Beat Gallery has been great incentive for our studio to keep pushing forward in a media that employs common objects in an uncommon art form.

As artists, we often live in a vacuum of our imaginations and our work environment. We are solely responsible for the product of our efforts, and that’s good news and bad. But beyond the walls of the studio we need to take pause and recognize that a whole world out there is cheering us on, wishing us success  for putting ourselves out there.

More later on the particulars of the show…

New Series by Susan


‘Raw’ by Susan

Finally! The large piece that has been taking up my workbench for the past 5 weeks is hanging in the downstairs gallery.

This was a large piece for me, measuring 36″ x 24″. And the subject matter was a bit on the rough side…but once it got going it took on the “life of it’s own” that happens in assemblage. It was definitely a growth piece and I am looking forward to composing two smaller pieces in the same style for showing this spring.

It looks a bit out of alignment in this photo, but, that is the photographer’s fault!

Growing as an artist lately has been the direct result of working with my art pal Alexis on our Influence and Inspiration Project. You can see what we are doing by stopping by that blog:


Yay! Happy Monday!


We Are Not Normal (Artists)


I have recently been studying the subject of fear in artists. And I am struck by the idea that assemblage artists have side-stepped one particularly fearful area voiced by other artists: Fear that your audience will miss your meaning or message in a piece.

As an assemblage artist I don’t deal with that one. Our work is interpreted by the viewer, and unless I set out to drive a message home, I don’t give it a second thought.

Our works are made from parts repurposed. Most often we didn’t “create” those parts from raw materials. They were already made. And because we didn’t create them, they already had a purpose or meaning attached to them. And because they already had meaning in another life often our viewers have their own meaning and memory attached to those objects.

Trying to force our past on the viewer doesn’t work, people like to point out what objects they recognize in a piece, or they might ask what a certain object is. From that they often make a comment like, “My dad had one of those!”  From there they might tell us about that person or circumstance. It’s more like we are dredging memories from our viewers, and we can’t control their memories.

As we are working on a piece I think most of us have a narrative going on about the piece in front of us. My guess is that our brains need to make sense of the chaos of objects  we are working with.

But I can’t remember a viewer asking what the art work is about or what we were trying to say, they like to tell us about their feelings and experiences.

Sorry bout that expressionist painters!

Art and The Power of Healing


Michael and I were cleaning up photo files on our devises today, (thank you Leslie Saeta’s blog at ) Amazing how good it feels to purge hundreds of redundant photos and free up space on the computers, not to mention pare it all down so we can actually find photos we want without wasting time searching and searching for them.

Anyway, I ran across a photo of a work I did last year when I had the flu.

I rarely get sick, but guess I was due. After a couple of days of misery, boredom set in and I crawled up to the studio, and became immersed in this piece. It wasn’t a particularly serious work, but it was great fun to work on. Just right for a recovery process.

I don’t remember feeling sick during the time I was working on it. I do remember having fun arranging the corny Buck Rogers-like images and the imagined sounds of the ray guns going off. I also remember being amazed how long I was concentrated on it (days) when I couldn’t keep my attention on TV or a movie.

I think this all speaks to the healing power of art. That meditative state we reach as artists where time stands still. I believe it was one of the reasons I got over that flu quickly when it seemed to hang on for weeks for others. Doing art is a healthy practice, I just wish our society could see that and encourage art for everyone along with physical activity. Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Happily, this piece found its way to a good friend’s house, he chose it from a wall full of pieces. I hope it brings health and happiness to their home.