Artist Susan Shie is a tiny, soft spoken woman, with a big and powerful artistic voice.
She has chosen the quilt and needle and thread as her medium because she feels it is a fitting place from which to express her feminist point of view.
Her colorful quilts are infused with folk art drawings and covered edge to edge in text - which she applies using a variety of air brush methods. The stories they tell vacillate between stories of angst, love, and imaginary settings. The famous and the fallen are often front and center, along with powerful women and women who should be powerful.
Every person who sees these extraordinary quilts will come away with a different reaction, and most will certainly react. These works of art are not passive. They have profound expressions that cannot be ignored.
When I study these, I see a mix of artistic references --- from the faces and floating figures of Marc Chagall to the colors of Paul Gauguin to the 'leave no surface untouched' style of street artists and graffiti art. The issues she fixates on are current events, as well as made up events. Her mind conjures up meetings between the most unexpected figures. For example, what if the guy from Bert's Bees met Ghandi... a strange and also refreshing point of view. Susan also focuses a lot of her imagery and love on Barack and Michelle Obama, and these two are her go to subjects. Her stories are relevant and current.
I find her voice powerful and inspiring, and its made all the more interesting to me because Susan Shie is legally blind. Her struggle with sight means she must work extremely close to her surfaces. And it this intensity with the surface that enables this powerful voice to emerge from the cloth and inspire or provoke the viewer.
|Left, Karey Bresenhan, co-founder of the Texas Quilt Museum, with artist Susan Shie.|
The exhibit is titled "The Way I See It: The Narrative Art of Susan Shie" and it is at the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas. The exhibition will be on view until Dec. 22, 2017. Susan kindly allows photos to be taken of her work. Thanks for that Susan!
Here is Susan's website: http://www.turtlemoon.com/
You can find more info about her art and background. You can also take drawing classes from Susan - online or at her studio. But she only accepts female students! She wants to expend her energy encouraging feminine expression from other artists as well as her own.