December 7, 2012 - January 12, 2013
Reception: Thurs., Dec 13th - 6pm to 8pm
In her first solo exhibit at Accola Griefen Gallery, Slavick shows works from the R&R( &R) series that start with found photographs circulating freely on the web. These images of decimated buildings and gaping earth are documents from recent war torn regions including Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. Slavick paints intricate details into each scene, insertions in which romanticism and realism converge. These restorative additions are culturally specific and based on historical research. Islamic angels instead of mechanics tend a charred car. White tracery of a mashrabiya (a traditional Arabic window treatment) hovers ghost-like in a bullet-pocked entryway. In Hemorrhage, a rusted vehicle is deluged by oily water with fish braving the flow of our over-consumption.
As art critic and art historian Eleanor Heartney writes, Slavicks use of Islamic sources for her painted insertions represents an effort to reinscribe a proud and sophisticated cultural history back into scenes which seem thrust by war and conflict back into an almost stone age primitivism. As she points out, in cases like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is our ignorance and our assumption of cultural and military superiority that paves the way for this erasure of history. By taking traditional, almost iconographic imagery from the same country whose photograph she appropriates the artist poses questions about the magnitude of loss and recovery. Although R&R is the military term for rest and relaxation, the works in Slavicks R&R( &R) open up its meaning to include remorse, restoration, revelation and regret.
Susanne Slavick is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University where she was Head of the School of Art between 2000 and 2006. With a BA from Yale University, she subsequently studied at Jagiellonian University in Krakow and completed her MFA at Tyler School of Art in Rome and Philadelphia. Residencies have included those at The MacDowell Colony; Mt. Desert Island through the Four Seals Foundation; Skoki Castle through the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland; and Blue Mountain Center. Slavick has exhibited in museums and galleries in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Minneapolis as well as in Europe and Asia. Her paintings have been recognized through an artist fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts and four awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Recent curatorial projects include No Glory, Cutting Losses, and the traveling exhibit Out of Rubble, the latter based on her recent book of the same name on international artists responding to the aftermath of war.