Susan Cheal Background Printing

August 16, 2002 – October 5, 2002

Artist Statement

“Whether my art work manifests itself in painting, sculpture, or mixed-media installation, its theme is always linked to my view and interpretation of societal behavior.

My process begins with research of aspects of “agents of socialization,” such as religious organizations, governments, educational systems, communities and the home. These agents, when combined with time-honored ethical lessons in the form of myths and fables, are then reinterpreted by the use of recognizable imagery gleaned from popular culture.

Examples of this linking of the past and future, high and low images, and literary sources, may be seen in my current work. In a series of paintings, entitled “Background Printing,” I combined images from an illustrated version of Aesop’s Fables, and overlaid them with text gleaned from multiple sources which subvert the original message of the fables. I used a painting technique reminiscent of blue prints and old-fashioned blue mimeographs.

The paintings act as background to six robotic animal sculptures which are fitted with light sensors, motors and recordings. The animals are similar to those depicted in the paintings, and also reminiscent of dashboard toys. When the sensors are tripped, the animals nod their heads and “speak.” They make excuses for their lack of personal responsibilty. For example, the brilliantly colored and flocked bear repeats, “I just can’t control my appetite…I just can’t control it!”She’s a victim of her own lack of will power, and her innate “bearness,” as well as society’s obsession with the slender female body. The coloration and texture that I used on the animals are similar to toys and cartoons, not of the natural.”