Overview

"I never see any painting as the end. This is not a product, this is a process. One painting can only tell this much of the story. The next one will tell more."

Chinese-born, Pittsburgh-based artist Su Su creates fantastical, dreamlike paintings that offer a new and unique understanding of intercultural exchange—a jittery, beautiful hybrid of mass media, pop culture, history, and memory with the capacity to shape our understanding of our interconnected world.

 

Su Su’s practice revolves around two distinctive but interconnected bodies of work—both of which employ oil paint, though in radically different ways. The first, traditional oil paintings on canvas, address images from history, including Su Su’s own family history as well as Chinese art history in general. These works speak to the complicated and confusing experiences Su Su has had as an immigrant to the United States. They show a distorted, swirling world of liquified pop iconographies and Chinese symbolism. Su Su’s face and body appear in her compositions, reflecting her struggle with the misunderstandings that shape the way China and the United States understand and portray each other’s cultures.

 

Su Su’s second body of work, which she calls Extrusion Paintings, continue her examination of cultural exchange. The technique she uses for these works is of her own invention. Working on a fine mesh fabric known as tulle, she sets the stretched surface upside down atop a sawhorse, and places a mirror beneath it on the floor. She then uses a syringe to carefully inject oil paint from behind the surface, through the tiny holes in the fabric. Gravity pulls the injected streams downward, creating a phantasmagoric, petrified forest of oil paint flagella from which haunting, uncanny images emerge. Su Su developed the technique as a material celebration of paint itself.

 

Su Su received an artist scholarship to attend graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University, where she completed her MFA in 2015 and worked as a guest professor at the School of Drama from 2015-2020. Her paintings have been featured in publications such as JUXTAPOZ Magazine, GALERIE Magazine, American Art Collector, Art Pulse Magazine, and FINE ART Connoisseur. Recent exhibitions include Chautauqua Institution of Art, NY (2019); The Andy Warhol Museum 25th anniversary exhibition (2019); The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (2020); The Carnegie Museum of Art (2020); the Muskegon Museum of Art (2021); and the de la Cruz Collection (2021). Works by Su Su are held in the permanent collections of de la Cruz Collection, Miami, FL; The Bennett Prize Art Collection, Muskegon, MI; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; and The International Spy Museum, Washington, DC, among others.

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