Friday, April 3, 2009

Suzanne Kanatsiz, Ceremonial Cloak II


Ceremonial Cloak II
Mixed Media, 1994

Suzanne Kanatsiz works in sculpture, installation, and drawing. Her forms are wide-ranging; relief panels, earthworks, steel sculptures, and more. Her experimental and conceptual work makes use of diverse combinations of organic and manufactured/machined materials. Many of these works have primitive features, and are created via slow, laborious processes. Concentric rings, circles, and spheres done in repetition are prominent in her designs. Ceremonial Cloak is an example of that type of work. The principal material of the cloak is from pine cones, which were an important part of the Washoe Paiute Indian culture, and the pattern of the piece is repetitive and concentric. It was made during a time when Kanatsiz was living in Nevada.

Born in Detroit, Suzanne Kanatsiz grew up in San Diego and earned a BFA in painting from San Diego State University on 1984 and an MFA in sculpture from San Jose State University in 1988. Arabic text has long been a part of her work due to her Turkish heritage; Kanatsiz is one of two daughters born to an American mother and a Turkish father. She has lived and traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East, including a teaching appointment at Sabanci University in Istanbul. She has also traveled to Australia, Canada, Mexico, Scotland, Korea, and other places in order to observe/learn the culture of the native peoples of the region and incorporate that into her artwork. She has taught sculpture at the University of Nevada Reno and at Weber State University in Utah. She currently lives in Ogden with her husband and son.

Quotes from an interview by a writer and friend of hers, Jordan Clary:

Question by Clary: “A lot of your art seems to be inspired by tribal societies. What is it about that that you try to convey with your work?”

Kanatsiz: “Indigenous peoples had a highly sophisticated relationship to the arts and its transformative powers. I am interested in imbuing that power in my work. Also different landscapes reflect my inner landscape. I love the ancient feel of a dry desert, the expansiveness of that is powerful.”

Information from “A” Gallery of Salt Lake City, The Utah Artists Project, and interview, 2007.

--Lois Smalley and Kathleen Durham