Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Autumn Dean/ Susan Kae Grant

Susan Kae Grant is a professor and head of the photography program at the Texas Woman’s University.  I picked this artist because of the way she puts a ton of research into her art.  The Night Journey Series is more than just a photograph of shadows, but a look into her unconsciousness.  On this series Susan worked with sleep scientist John Herman.  She wanted to learn more about her unconscious mind so she used herself as the subject and did sleep studies with John.  He would monitor her sleep cycles and wake her after a REM cycle.  He would then ask her questions about her dreams.  From these studies she figured out from listening to the dialog what she wanted to communicate to her viewer.  This series is very dramatic, and she captures the dream like state very well in these photographs.  The shadowy figures and subjects seem to crawl up these fabric walls that run from ceiling to floor.  I like how the bottom of these fabric walls curve and turn into the floor.  This causes the images to just trail off into nothingness.  This is very powerful to me because it seems like you can never see a scene in your dreams in its entirety.  Susan really put a lot of work into this research, it took her seven years to gather enough research of her REM cycles.  It is also very dramatic how her pictures not only have their subject but also the shadows of branches that create these magnificent organic lines throughout the photo. 
Susan finds that she likes her art to interact with the viewer.  By creating these huge fabric panels the viewer must walk through this dream world.  Another way this artist like to interact with her audience is by books.  She usually researches an idea or subject for two years before making her book, which also includes her photography.  The way she works with her art and ideas are very different and can be learned from.

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