Sudie Rakusin

Artist Statement

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My work is the culmination of many years of exploration with various media, including pencil, pen-and-ink, oil and acrylic, and papier-mâché sculpture.

 The paintings I have been creating in recent years draw upon my classical training, but also satisfy my desire to use rich colors, build in layers, and incorporate found objects. They are a departure from my previous work, however, in that they have irregular-shaped borders and are enhanced with papier-mâché elements to give them more physical depth, surprise, and interaction with viewers. In these works, three-dimensional butterflies stand away from the canvas, sculpted flowers emerge from a painting with pistils and stamens in full relief, doors open to reveal hidden landscapes, a papier-mâché shelf supports a papier-mâché pear and book. Jewels dangle around the necks of my subjects and LED lights and fiber optics fill skies with stars. In this series, I am testing the boundaries of what a painting is while also testing the boundaries between artwork and viewer, between human and animal, between inner and outer, and between the natural and built environments.

 My love of animals and my love of fantasy combine in my papier-mâché creatures. Some of my creations float in the air with wings spread, some climb up walls, and some pose on four legs. Some are stand-alone works and some are incorporated into my three-dimensional paintings. Each has its own personality and, often, a unique sense of fashion. I enjoy sculpting animals because it feels like I am moving my hands over their muzzles, ears, legs, wings; that I am getting to know them through touch. I like all the stages: sculpting, painting, beading and accessorizing.

 I have always loved incorporating intricate patterns in my art. My detailed pen-and-ink drawings satisfy my love of the “line,” human and animal forms, and pattern in variations of black, white, and grey. In my collages, the pen-and-ink pattern becomes the focus and combines with color to create a feeling or mood.