Suzanne Sbarge: Meta/Morph

Exhibition at Turner Carroll Gallery
December 1-20, 2017

In my mixed media collage paintings, I depict hybrid characters and creatures, exploring the place of animals in the human imagination during this time of rapid environmental change. I work with a wide range of current, extinct and/or imagined animals and fauna, with an emphasis on birds and avian life forms. Through my art process, I connect with the reality that we are not just interconnected with animals, we are animals.

My process involves trying to access the place of dreams, the nonlinear, open-ended, mysterious place, where the conscious mind is not in charge. “Animals wake up the imagination,” said James Hillman in Dream Animals, “You see a deer by the side of the road, or geese flying in formation, and you become hyper-alert…animal dreams can do this too… As we get more into imagining, we get more animal-like….”

The juxtaposition of paint and collage in my work gives a sense of altered vision. This “collaged state of mind” – the dialogue between the real and the surreal – is what I look for. Ever-present are the dualities of familiarity and otherworldliness, interior and exterior, domesticity and freedom, sky and earth, real and imagined.

Hillman said “The idea that we know ourselves through animals appears again and again in theories of the origins of consciousness. Some peoples say the animals once had all the knowledge and transmitted it to us.” In this body of work, I am seeking reflections of animal consciousness within all of us.

— Suzanne Sbarge, December 2017