All we ever wanted was everything
These unique forms are a result of a life long art practice and commitment to creating innovative work that seeks an emotional connection and provokes delight
About the artist
Susan Maddux is an artist working in both fine art and digital commercial art.
She was born on the island of Oahu in Hawaii to a hapa Japanese-American family where she absorbed the influence of handmade kakebuton, the wax relief tradition of indigo-dyed shibori textiles, and the subtlety of shibui form and color.
Trained in fine arts at the SF Art Institute, she has had numerous group and solo shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Honolulu.
After years in New York painting in her studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and designing textiles for major fashion houses, she came to Los Angeles to be nearer to the beloved Pacific Ocean.
She brings her early experiences in the lush valley of Manoa, with warm rain and diffuse floral tones to bear on her painted and sculptural wall hangings.
Each piece is comprised of abstract paintings on canvas hidden within the folds of a dimensional form, the painting only hinted at. These evocative shapes suggest both the feminine (or domestic) fiber arts tradition and the loftier tradition of fine art painting on canvas.
Developing these pieces starts with sketching and playing with proportion and shapes. Each shape has a distinct feeling, each piece has character.
Color color color
I design palettes and test them for patterning ideas and paint treatment
When I choose an idea, the canvas is torn to size then folded and stacked before painting to check the proportions. For this large scale piece, the longest piece is 10 feet long and requires two people to fold. These pieces will be folded and taken apart numerous times during the process.
Every piece is painted by hand and lovingly worked, with attention to color and pattern. Each part is as important as the whole.
After the paintings have dried, they’re refolded to check how they’re working together. This is the most exciting reveal, and it takes days to get to this part. Before folding the paintings, I don’t know exactly what they’re going to look like and if the paintings are going to really work together. Often I have to repaint, make new paintings or swap paintings around in search of the combination that delights, the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
When I am satisfied, the pieces are treated to keep their shape and then bound with jute or leather or stacked.
This process takes many days and is full of unknowns
And when everything comes together, the result is something delightful and new.
I hope you feel that when you see this work, and that it has an effect on you that lingers.