Artist Profile: Suzy Kopf
Through my large scale oil paintings, I wish to reconcile my nostalgia for the industrial era with the unforeseen challenges of the digital age before us. Similar to corrupted picture files, my contemporary landscapes evoke a surreal memento mori for the past life of the United States that feels inherently digitized.
If we were to return to a house we once lived in and find the trees cut down and the porch redone, we might see this cosmetic change as erasure of our history. Author André Aciman writes “even if I don’t disappear from a place, places disappear from me,” and comforts, “this is a natural cycle in the human life.” Aciman’s point, that in time we lose the tangible feeling of the places we have inhabited, is a major theme in my work. Yet, I believe the past is traceable and is only becoming more so since the advent of the Internet.
Visually, I’m influenced by the flatness of paint-by-numbers and the reductive line work of coloring books. When I first began the series, I replaced information with white, more closely emulating these forms; recently I have introduced color and fragmented the picture plane into separate panels to move more aggressively towards abstraction. I am interested in experimenting further with technology in my work as well as trying out new textures and patterns in the spaces to expand the conceptual framework of this series.
Ultimately, I am curious what decay can mean in a country as young as America. Between the dying auto industry, global warming and the fiscal cliff, it has become commonplace for people to say we live in “end times.” My work attempts to examine the absences in our presence by utilizing the physicality of painting to address the digital era.