Background


Artist Statement

Growing up in a New Jersey coastal resort, my youth was dominated by long stretches of solitude interrupted by seasonal commotion. Summers of labor and libations were subsumed by longer “off-season” cycles of quiet contemplation. Fall arrived, the sea calmed, plant life soothed, horizons hailed freedom. Years later, I migrated to Chicago where I was engulfed year-round by a cacophony of humanity, constant motion, horizons obscured by buildings and plastic trees–alienation in the midst of a throng. Then I moved west to the Denver area and found temporary solace in the western ideal, celebrating individualism and resilience. All along, I have been fascinated with watching people interact, or fail to interact, build communities, and then tear them down.

The scramblings of humanity have an inclination towards obliterating the natural world while attempting to embrace and appreciate it.

We plant individual trees and expect them to thrive. We live isolated lives and expect the community to prosper. But trees grow to their fullest in healthy forests. They communicate and aid one another for the general good. We humans have morphed into untethered individuals afloat in our own heads. Loneliness and alienation are seeded by conversations of support and community. The human psyche and the natural world are locked in battle. Forests disappear, solitary trees wither, the air browns. People stare at their palms.

As I accumulate these experiences and observations, I am impelled to broaden my studio art practice to address the paradox of community versus the individual, of humanity versus the environment. I create figureless heads and headless figures that exist together but do not coexist. Some of my sculptures are parts of the body; hips, shoulders, and torsos, rounded and closed off, piled onto each other in a perilous attempt to own the sun, to be at the top. Others cover the ground, smothering what lies below. Nothing is whole. Faces lack expression without eyes or mouths; noses and colors hint at what so often separates us. Heads reside in monochromatic groups or as individuals with limited comingling at the edges. Part of nature holds on, even pokes through, or lies in a dead heap, as it struggles to survive the onslaught. It is all precarious.

My hope is to give viewers a place and time to contemplate the fragmentation of our communities and how these fragmented communities relate to the natural world. Are the sculptures more akin to people, or rocks. Is that a plant, or bones? Is it all about to fall apart at the slightest touch or is it a stable whole despite its apparent fragmentation?

Biography

Tina Suszynski was born in Philadelphia and raised on a barrier island in southern New Jersey. Her youth was full of exploration, sisters, sports and art; she developed a love for drawing as soon as she was given access to pencil and paper. Early on, Suszynski became a student of a local artist and art educator. This relationship lasted through elementary and high school and it allowed her to experiment with media not available in the typical public school art class. Heeding the advice of the adults around her, however, Suszynski did not pursue an art degree. Instead, she attended Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and graduated with a B.A. in International Studies. She was fortunate to be able to spend her junior year studying in Paris where she managed to visit the Louvre almost every week to soak in as much art as possible. She vividly remembers her visit to the Rodin Museum that year and its strong impact on her.

Suszynski went on to law school, first in Richmond, Virginia, then in Chicago after discovering that the beauty of Lake Michigan and its seagulls could mollify her feelings of loss after leaving her island refuge. While practicing law in Chicago and at the behest of a friend, Suszynski began to take ceramic classes in the evenings and was drawn back in to the creative world that she missed dearly. The voices in her head had sent her to search for a “career” but the undercurrent of art had always remained in her subconscious.

Suszynski has spent a lot of time honing her technique by attending the highest quality workshops and classes whenever possible. She has taken figure drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago, figure sculpture (and many other classes) at the Evanston Art Center, and workshops given by Robin Hopper, Eric Jensen, Jun Kuneko, Paul Soldner, and Lana Wilson. She recently spent two weeks at the Anderson Ranch Art Center in the ceramics department (with Stan Welsh and Benjamin Lira as her instructors) and one week in the sculpture department (Rick Parsons).

Suszynski has been a resident artist at Valor Arts+Media, AIR Vallauris in France, and the Red Lodge Clay Center (Artist Invites Artists).

Resume

Education
Tina Suszynski attended Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, earning a B.A. in International Studies after spending her junior year studying in Paris, France. She then earned a J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago. She has taken figure drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago, figure sculpture and other ceramic classes at the Evanston Art Center and several classes at the Art Students League of Denver. Tina’s instructors have included Peter Durst, Robin Hopper, Eric Jensen, Jun Kuneko, Benjamin Lira, Stephen Mickey, Rick Parsons, Paul Soldner, Stan Welsh, and Lana Wilson.

Tina attended A.I.R. Vallauris, France, as a resident artist and has put together an Artist-Invites-Artists Residency for the summer of 2019 at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana. She recently became a member of Artnauts, a socially and politically based art collective that shows internationally.

Exhibitions
2006  Sterling & Ceramic, Linked by Sculpture, an Ocean Apart, Bell Gallery, Denver, CO
2007  The Garden Party, Curtis Arts and Humanities Center, Greenwood Village, CO
2007   Impact:20 Years!, Art Students League of Denver, Denver, CO
2007  Games Artists Play, Curtis Arts and Humanities Center, Greenwood Village, CO
2010  Sparkling Universe, Downtown Aurora Visual Arts, Aurora, CO
2011  Painting and Ceramic Exhibition, The Purple Box Annex, Bell Gallery, Denver, CO
2011   Painted Violin, Denver Young Artists Orchestra Association, Denver, CO
2013  Red Rocks Community College, Susan K.Arndt Gallery, Lakewood, CO
2013  Works on Paper, Sculpture in Clay, Caribou Art Gallery, Denver, CO
2013  Abstract Concepts, Caribou Art Gallery, Denver CO
2015  Significant Women Artists, Curtis Arts and Humanities Center, Greenwood Village, CO
2016  Equinox, Sync Gallery, Denver, CO
2016  Valor Resident Artist, Valor Arts+Media, Lone Tree, CO 2016Own an Original, Littleton Museum, Littleton, CO
2017  Member’s Show 2017, Foothills Art Center, Golden, CO
2019  Invictus, Global Livingston Institute, Women’s Leadership Conference, Entusi, Uganda
2019  Invictus, The Art Gallery-School of Industrial and Fine Art, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
2019  All Colorado Art Show, Curtis Center for the Arts, Greenwood Village, CO
2019  Turning Points, Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2020  My Country: Dreams and/or Reality, Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Bosnia
2020  Pink Progression: Collaborations, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Arvada, CO
2020  The Walls Between Us, Center for Visual Arts, MSU, Denver, CO
2020  Phase Change, Curtis Center for the Arts, Greenwood Village, CO