SUSAN HAGEN: ARTIST'S STATEMENT
As a long-time resident of the City of Philadelphia, I feel more and more connected to the place I live (the earth, the air, the rich textures of urban life), and this sense of place is a growing focus of my work. In all my recent series of sculptures, including "Citizens", "Teenager Project" and "Lost Army," I work hard to explore specifics: this time, this place, this person. Like James Joyce in Ulysses, I want to delve deeply into this particular time and place. I create small, detailed portraits in wood in order to express my affection and curiosity concerning the people around me. My process as a sculptor is labor intensive and technically challenging, and I combine the traditional fine-art techniques of Northern European carved-wood sculpture and oil painting, with methodologies stolen from the prosaic craft forms of miniature crime scenes, doll houses and historical dioramas. I see my work in the context of narrative wood sculpture: Medieval altarpieces, Japanese Kamakura sculpture, and American folk art, which inspire me with their articulate form and pure expressions of emotion. In addition, the honest, sometimes gritty, portraits of August Sander, Alice Neel and Duane Hanson have each provided inspiration for the direction of my current sculptural projects. Though my inspiration comes from many sources, my greatest ambition is to give articulation to a richly human content in my work.
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