SueHawks, a Chicago native, graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Master’s of Interdisciplinary Art in 2011 after achieving a Bachelor’s in the Studio Fine Arts from Austin Peay State University, TN in 1996. Drawing inspiration from many areas, including her Catholic up-bringing (and subsequent reform) and the sciences, she explores socially accepted ideas of beauty through contradiction, and a juxtaposition of the unexpected.
I am intrigued by the things in our world
that many would overlook and dismiss as
ugly and grotesque. I see beauty in pristine
rows of collected insects at nature
museums. Blueprints and scientific
diagrams are enthralling. Signs of industrial
decay and gritty, stalagmite formations in
the rotting subways can mesmerize me for
hours on end. Where some people may see
a filthy, corroded, lost key without a lock, I
see a miracle in progress. I perceive a
salacious consumption taking place, a
transformation far more revealing than the
mechanics of lock and key. Significant
beyond its intended purpose, this key
demonstrates the ease with which nature
devours an element humanity measures as
a symbol of security and strength. While looking to examples of nature such as this, I explore in my work the tides and seasons of life’s journey from birth to death, the lineage which extends both into the past and the future, and the material nonsense we surround ourselves with. Themes of dreaming, aging, death and decay are often at the forefront of these explorations.
Whether mere trinkets or real people, most of the chosen articles in my work of late tend to be discarded objects I have found, collected and placed into boxes in some way or another. I spend hours arranging seemingly useless and random bits of junk into boxes or on canvas, alluding to a potential narrative about the people who once belonged to these things and eventually abandoned them.
I also collect and capture voices of the elderly who, through their stories, painstakingly share details from pages of mental catalogues full of sometimes cloudy and evaporating memories, and I release these voices within the framework of films which reveal the objects that surround each person in his or her own intimate world.
Each chosen subject has its own place, and every piece and personality dictates the form in which the individual story needs to be told. Whether told from within constructed boxes, 2D collage, paintings, audio narrative or some other form of illustration, the boundaries of narrative form and format are as limitless as these subjects themselves tend to be.