Untitled Head No. 3
ceramic, glaze and underglaze
12" x 11"
Susan Day is a visual artist whose work is predominantly constructed of ceramic. She has an extensive exhibition history and her work has successfully straddled the worlds of contemporary craft and fine art. Susan’s works have been included in various important national and international exhibits including the Body and Society at the Embassy Cultural House in 1988; Revisited at the DIA Art Foundation in New York City, the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana; the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta; and La Chambre Blanche in Quebec City. Susan received her early art education at Beal Art in London, Ontario. Following that she studied at Sheridan College School of Craft and Design in Lorne Park, Ontario, ARTsake in Toronto, Ontario, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax, Nova Scotia as well as a residency at the Banff Centre.
“I make large clay vessels which create surfaces for drawings which explore identity, reflections on daily life and dream sequences. Earlier in my career I explored my identity as the child and caregiver of a disabled mother – depicting adaptive devices used by my mother to navigate daily life. This work, situated on ceramic surfaces with its storytelling component, speaks to both historical ceramics and current practitioners exploring and exposing the medium beyond function and technique. While some aspects of my work has received negative criticism due to its difficult and challenging subject matter, I believe these stories need to be told. Pursuing this body of work helped me to gain a broader knowledge through personal investigation of the satellite effects of how illness, trauma, and family clusters of suicide affect identity and self determination of the survivors. Particularly relevant to audiences who have experienced family fragmentation, addictions, and suicides, these artworks offer some understanding and context. Situating the resulting images of this investigation on ceramic vessels and tablets adds a connectedness to the body at the source of this exploration with the tactile nature of the material attracting human touch.
“My ceramic works ranged in scale from objects that can be held in the hand to site-specific installations, including both intimate spaces of the home and monumentally-scaled collaborative public murals on exterior walls. In this work, often situated in environments of struggle for individuals with a disability (washrooms, bedrooms, staircases, entryways, work places), I explored the identity of the disabled and identified myself as ‘the other’, straddling the worlds of ability. The fragility of the clay mirrors the fragility of the body. Images are often situated on dinnerware or other prosaic surfaces, speaking to both the long tradition of ceramic art as a vehicle for storytelling and as a subversively common format to confront the viewer with uncommon images drawn from memory with a gentle hand.”