Briefly describe the work you do.
I make sculptures and sculptural installations. They reference architecture and landscape, often suggesting other worlds. Recently the forms are a little bit figurative, in my mind anyway, something of a mash-up of humanoid, scholar’s stone and eccentric architecture.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
When I was in school, undergrad and most of grad, I considered myself a painter. Paintings are as much of an influence on my work as are sculptures. There’s a Christian Schumann painting, “Conglomathedral,” that’s been big for me; I have a photocopy of it in my studio. Franz West and Rachel Harrison are two favorite sculptors. Utopian communities and Modernist architecture are influences. I lived in Japan for a while many years back and that’s in there as well. Also, my husband, Jeff Starr, is a painter and our dialogue back and forth is a daily influence.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
A lot of my work begins digitally, so I spend a fair amount of “studio time” on my laptop. This is not my favorite part of the process, but it does allow me to get work done in a variety of places which is really, really helpful. I recently moved from Denver, Colorado to upstate New York. I teach in Albany at The Center for Art and Design at The College of Saint Rose. I live in Hudson, NY where I have a studio. At school, there’s a nice Sculpture facility and a new “Fab Lab” with a laser cutter, and 3D printer and scanner. So, I’m a little all over the place. As I write this I’m cutting many layers of cardboard on the laser cutter for a model for a new piece.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Well, teacher for one; when I was younger, I didn’t see myself in that role, but it’s great, I enjoy it. Also, the younger me would not have envisioned the sculptures and installations, but again, I really enjoy this type of making.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
It’s a little all over the place. I teach 9 hours straight on T/TH. I get up an hour earlier those mornings so that I can work on pieces on my computer; it’s not much time, but it makes me feel good. M/W there are a lot of meetings, but I find small chunks of time here and there to work. I do a lot of work on Friday and the weekend. School vacations are pretty heavy studio. It’s great that my husband is an artist and doing the same.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I’m somewhat more interested in discrete sculpture over installation. I’ve been exploring the idea of ruin, or repurposed ruin and also, recently, a loose idea of the figurative.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Mikhail Baktin writing on the Carnivalesque, Robert Storr’s essays on Philip Guston; utopian communities/experiments in the mid-1800’s in the Northeast, Fruitlands is an example, and in the 1960’s and 70’s in the West, like Drop City; Chinese scholar’s stones; my husband, Jeff; and Joan Rivers.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I have no idea. Teaching is my “other” occupation, but it’s completely tied to my art making.
Hudson, NY artist, Susan Meyer makes fantastical environments and sculptures that explore tensions between the communal and individual.
Meyer’s past exhibitions include:
2014 Exhibition by Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region at Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY, Stephen Westfall, juror; Odds and Ends, take one at Valley Variety in Hudson, NY, co-organized with Jeff Starr, exhibition essay by Cydney M. Payton; Incident #69 at Incident Report Viewing Station, Hudson, NY; Plato’s Retreat at Plus Gallery in Denver, CO; Fringe Frontier, 2012 and Hi Tide, 2010 at Art Aqua in Miami, both exhibitions curated and sponsored by ARTslant; Together, a sculptural installation, exhibited at Artspace in New Haven, CT, the Islip Art Museum Carriage House in East Islip, NY and Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, South Carolina; Decades of Influence, at MCA/Denver and CVA Denver, curated by Cydney Payton, MCA/Denver Director and Chief Curator; Biennial Blowout, juried by Kenny Schachter and Elegy: Contemporary Ruins, curated by Katharine Smith Warren, both at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver.
Meyer received a B.S. in Studio Art from Skidmore College and a M.F.A. from the Boston Museum School and Tufts University. She is an Assistant Professor at The Center for Art and Design at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.