CB1 Gallery is pleased to present our second solo exhibition of work by Susan Silas. The exhibition, RAVEN, in the West Gallery, is the newest work in an ongoing series begun over a decade ago, entitled found birds, 2000 - the present. In his review for the Huffington Post, G. Roger Denson described her images of decaying birds: “Silas simultaneously examines the continuum and resilience of life, self-consciously enlisting her photographs to do what photography does best — mining the medium’s ability to expose exactly what existed in front of the lens — conveying the unique fragility of sentient beings and their inevitable loss.” Ms. Silas has described this work as an effort to “rehabilitate singularity.”
The exhibition will be on display from September 8 through October 13, 2013, with a reception for the artist on Sunday, September 8, 5 – 7 p.m.
Birds have often been considered the messengers or connection between the heavens and the earth. Of the birds the artist has photographed, the raven is perhaps the most freighted in mythology. It has been the subject of paintings, literature, and poetry. Ravens generally mate for life and will mourn their mate when it dies. It is a beautiful and majestic bird; a bird that has captured the imagination for centuries. The exhibition will present two sets of related images: some shot as a formal still life on a white ground and others shot in motion on a black ground. While the formal still lifes may conjure associations with Audubon and are occasionally mistaken for watercolors or drawings, the consequence of motion is a startling and surprising range of subtle colors, suggesting painterly strategies that refer to a long tradition of European still life painting.
This body of work began to develop when Ms. Silas was completing a major work on the subject of the Holocaust in Europe. Over time Ms. Silas realized that her images of birds were connected to this subject matter and to previous bodies of work representing war. “The images felt like descendants of Civil War photography in America; depictions of fallen soldiers left abandoned on the battlefield.” While the work may be perceived as tough on the one hand, simply because its immediate subject matter is death — it is in fact about beauty, continuity, reconciliation and the resilience of being; because of and in spite of the fragile nature of the body.
Ms. Silas, who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, received her Master in Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. Her work on the Holocaust in Europe during the Second World War, Helmbrechts walk, 1998-2003, has been exhibited at Hebrew Union College Museum, New York City, 2009-2010; Kunstverien Grafschaft Bentheim in Neuenhaus, Germany, 2010; Kunsthalle Exnergasse_WUK in Vienna, 2010; and the Center for Contemporary Arts, Celje, Slovenia, 2011. Two simultaneous exhibitions of her work are scheduled in Bushwick, New York in March 2014: love in the ruins; sex over 50, a solo exhibition at Studio 10 and the self-portrait sessions, in a two-person exhibition at Momenta Art. She is the subject of this summer’s In the Studio profile in ARTVOICES, written by Catherine Wagley and her work was just featured in the international contemporary art platform Anti-Utopias founded by Sabin Bors and in the summer edition of artcore journal edited by Erin Dziedzic. She is a regular contributor to Hyperallergic magazine.