Moving from Large to Small: Artist spotlight on Laura Sussman-Randall

by Liz McKay, Gallery Manager

As an art student at Winthrop University, I took a variety of Art History courses.  One course, entitled “Art and Sexual Politics”, was a study of art created by women.  I took a great deal away from that course, but one thing that struck me then has stayed with me.  The majority of all the work created by women was small of scale.  The text suggested several theories as to why this may be so.  The two most prominent being that women could not afford or had little access to materials with which to make art, and that the intimate nature of the subject matter of women’s art lent itself to a smaller scale.

So, I found it interesting that all of the respondents to Gallery 27’s invitation to participate in a Small Works Show were women despite there being a great many men on our listed of invited artists.  Several of these artists normally work on a very large scale, but decided to create smaller works especially for this show.  One of these artists is Laura Sussman-Randall.  Laura explains her work as follows:

“Most of my recent works have been large scale charcoal drawings and have focused on the effects of greed, obstructionism, and prejudice on our country and the various power imbalances that result. The issues of life and death, predator and prey, victim and victor, which lie barely below the surface of “civilized” society, are raw and overt in the animal kingdom and so I often choose to use animals as symbols of human behaviors. They are both the perpetrators and the victims. In my work I deliberately omit any likenesses of specific or identifiable place or person. By stripping figures down to their most basic state and placing them in nonspecific locations, I hope to create a more universal image that conveys my statement yet allows the viewers to create their own associations.

While returning to a small format is somewhat of a challenge for me, it has also presented an opportunity to revisit some mixed media techniques as well as the recurring themes of animals, nature, and an old favorite of mine, the medieval bestiary. All of the text in these works is derived from a 12th century English manuscript known as The Aberdeen Bestiary.”

All of the artwork in our 111: The Small Works Show is smaller than 12 inches in any direction and they are priced at $111 or less.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to add a small work to your collection.  111: The Small Works Show is at Gallery 27 from April 21 – May 16, 2018.  The opening reception is Saturday, April 21st from 7 to 9 pm.