I like old artifacts, peeling paint, rusted metal and rocks. I incorporate the surface qualities of these objects into my work by creating layers of screenprinted images or by creating visual texture through paper and found objects. These articulated surfaces recall earlier ties to spiritual realms and connections to past cultures. It helps me to identify to the here and now; to know that all things are connected. -Susan Denniston
Why I create ART…
In another time and place, I had a connection to the spirit within me. It was a relatedness to all things when physical matter combined with emotions and spirit. There was a sense of balance and harmony and a connection existed that allowed us to communicate with the cosmos. Now, collectively as human beings, I feel as though we’ve lost that connection. We find ourselves living fragmented daily lives. Things around us move so fast and we wonder if technology helps or hinders us.
We look at images in rock art and ancient artifacts and vaguely remember memories long past. We know the connection exists because we can feel it. As an artist, I feel too this connection. I visually try to examine how fragmented and fast-paced our lives have become. I cut through many layers in my prints as though I were an archeologist excavating strata for answers to age old questions. My artwork becomes a personal archeology. I use a lot of images and symbols … some from the ancient past, others I’ve newly created. I’m hoping they will help to dissolve the veils from our past. Some of these symbols are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. All are combined anew to formulate a new visual language in a new time. See and feel how many are familiar to you. Reestablish the connection!
I was brought up in various parts of the United States and Europe due to my father’s career in the Air Force. My Student Teaching practicum was done in the Panama Canal Zone under the Foreign Studies Program at Pennsylvania State University. I then graduated in 1976 and went on to work in the technical field of drafting, programming, and engineering temperature control/energy management systems all the while pursuing art in areas of ceramics, watercolor, and jewelry.
In 1989, I returned to graduate school full time and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking along with an award for Outstanding Graduate Student in the Fine Arts Area. I am currently teaching workshops, doing studio work, commissions and exhibitions regionally and nationally as well as traveling globally to research ancient civilizations. I also work for a non-profit organization, the Center for Unified Research and Education (CURE), developing art and energy projects.
As an artist, the process of creating art allows me to act like an archeologist excavating strata for answers to age-old questions. We look at images in rock art and pieces of ancient fragments vaguely remembering flashes of memories long past. It is a connection to the spirit within, a wholeness, a sense of balance and harmony to the cosmos.
Today, we feel as though we’ve lost that connection and find ourselves living frenetic lives. I create art to re-establish that connection and to make sense of the fragmentation in our fast past lives. Images and symbols, textures, color and layers are visually combined to bring about remembrance and the hope of dissolving the veils of the past. I am recreating these ancient feelings and make them as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. All the elements
in my art are reformulated in a new visual language for a new time … Now! It is my personal archeology.
Honorable Mention, “Printmakers ’96”, The Pittsburgh Print Group, Pittsburgh, PA, Nov 1996
Gallery Award, Printmaking, “Panorama”, Erie, PA, Jun 1996
Juror’s Choice, “Heartlands Art Festival”, Lenexa, KS, Jun 1994
First Place, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”, Oakland Community College, Womencenter, Farmington Hills, MI, May 1994
Honorable Mention, “25th Anniversary Juried Exhibition”, HUB Gallery, Penn State University, Art Alliance of Central PA, University Park, PA, Sep 1993
Honorable Mention, “Open Media National Competition”, Artel Studio, Kearney, NE, Jun 1993
Handcast Paper Exhibition, Park Avenue Salon, Fountain Hills, AZ Current
Artists That Have Met the Challenge, Miriam Perlman Gallery, Chicago, IL, Feb 1998
STRATA, Contemporary Prints of Ancient Fragments, Cultural Clichés, and Stone Notes, Erie Art Museum, Frame Shop Gallery, Erie, PA, Aug 1997
Graphic Comment, Lankershim Arts Center Gallery, LA Printmaking Society, North Hollywood, CA, Jan 2001
Printmakers ’96, University of Pittsburgh Art Gallery, The Pittsburgh Print Group, Pittsburgh, PA, Nov 1996
Small Print & Drawing Exhibition, West Chaco Gallery, Aztec, NM, Sep 1996
Lots of Little Art, Artlink, Fort Wayne, IN, May 1996
Small Works Exhibit, Eclectic Gallery, Tucson, AZ, Jan 1996
Tenth Mini Print International Exhibition, Traveling Exhibition, Studio School and Art Gallery, Bingham, NY, Nov 1995 to Dec 1996
Bag, Sac, Pouch, Purse, Gallery of Artifacts and Treasures, Daytona Beach, FL, Nov 1994
Eighth Mini Print International Exhibition, Traveling Exhibition, Studio School and Art
Gallery, Bingham, NY, Nov 1993 to Dec 1994
Heartlands Art Festival, Outdoor Gallery, Lenexa, KS, Jun 1994
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Oakland Community College, Womencenter, Farmington Hills, MI, May 1994
Figurative Exhibition, Artel, Detroit, MI, May 1994
CAJE ‘94: America’s Cultural Diversity, The Center of Contemporary Arts, University Park, MO, Mar 1994
Visual Voices/The Female, University of West Florida Art Gallery, Untitled II, Pensacola, FL, Feb 1994
Making Their Mark: Women in the Arts, Rear Window Gallery, Winchester, VA, Feb 1994
Showcase ‘93, Cascade Plaza, Beaverton Arts Commission, Beaverton, OR, Nov 1993
Hoyt National Art Show, The Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, PA, Oct 1993
My Country Tis…, Invitational, Artel Studio, Kearney, Antiquarian Gallery, Omaha, NE, Sep & Oct 1993
Counterpoint ‘93 National Exhibition, Duncan-McAshan Visual Arts Center, Hill Country Arts Association, Ingram, TX, Aug 1993
…On A Flatrock, Invitational, Artist’s Cooperative Gallery, Artel Studio, North Platte, NE, Aug 1993
PUBLICATIONS & VIDEOS
Somerset Studio Publications, “Stone Age Books” artwork of the artist Susan Denniston, May/June 2004 issue
Forum For Science & Art Video, Artist Views on Their Work, Los Alamos, NM Sep 2001
Bigsby & Kruthers, Chicago, IL, Mar 1996
Saint Vincent Medical Center, Erie, PA, Feb 1996
Rush Presbyterian Hospital, Chicago, IL, Dec 1995
Ford Motor Corporation, Chicago, IL, Oct 1995
Edinboro University, Bruce Gallery, Edinboro, PA, Permanent Collection, 1995
… and various private collections
Crystal Dove, Albuquerque, NM
Willow, An Artisan’s Marketplace, Littleton, CO
M.F.A. Printmaking, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 1994
B.S. Art Education, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 1976
(Teacher Certification K-12)
Workshops in Handmade Paper May 2002 I instructed individual workshops on handmade paper making including sheet forming and hand casting. Santa Fe, NM
Volunteer Literacy Tutor Jul 1997 – Jan 1998 I tutored students in English as a Second Language, illiterate adults from work programs with their companies and also students pursuing their GED. Adult Education Program, Erie School District, Erie, PA.
Workshop in Handmade Paper Jun 1997 I instructed a two day workshop on handmade paper making including sheet forming and hand casting. Textures Gallery, Erie, PA
Instructor for Control Systems Nov 1981 – May 1996 Through out my career with Johnson Controls, I trained customers on their temperature control systems operation and maintenance as well as basic computer skills. Johnson Controls, Inc., Erie, PA
Silkscreening Demonstrator Feb 1994 During graduate work, I demonstrated the screenprinting process to Middle and High School Students during High School Art Days. Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA