The scramblings of humanity have an inclination towards obliterating the natural world while attempting to embrace and appreciate it.
We plant individual trees and expect them to thrive. We live isolated lives and expect the community to prosper. But trees grow to their fullest in healthy forests. They communicate and aid one another for the general good. We humans have morphed into untethered individuals afloat in our own heads. Loneliness and alienation are seeded by conversations of support and community. The human psyche and the natural world are locked in battle. Forests disappear, solitary trees wither, the air browns. People stare at their palms.
As I accumulate these experiences and observations, I am impelled to broaden my studio art practice to address the paradox of community versus the individual, of humanity versus the environment. I create figureless heads and headless figures that exist together but do not coexist. Some of my sculptures are parts of the body; hips, shoulders, and torsos, rounded and closed off, piled onto each other in a perilous attempt to own the sun, to be at the top. Others cover the ground, smothering what lies below. Nothing is whole. Faces lack expression without eyes or mouths; noses and colors hint at what so often separates us. Heads reside in monochromatic groups or as individuals with limited comingling at the edges. Part of nature holds on, even pokes through, or lies in a dead heap, as it struggles to survive the onslaught. It is all precarious.
My hope is to give viewers a place and time to contemplate the fragmentation of our communities and how these fragmented communities relate to the natural world. Are the sculptures more akin to people, or rocks. Is that a plant, or bones? Is it all about to fall apart at the slightest touch or is it a stable whole despite its apparent fragmentation?
Growing up in a New Jersey coastal resort, my youth was dominated by long stretches of solitude interrupted by seasonal commotion. Summers of labor and libations were subsumed by longer “off-season” cycles of quiet contemplation. Fall arrived, the sea calmed, plant life soothed, horizons hailed freedom. Years later, I migrated to Chicago where I was engulfed year-round by a cacophony of humanity, constant motion, horizons obscured by buildings andplastic trees--alienation in the midst of a throng. Then I moved west to the Denver area and found temporary solace in the western ideal, celebrating individualism and resilience. All along, I have been fascinated with watching people interact, or fail to interact, build communities, and then tear them down.
Tina Suszynski has been an Artnaut since 2019.