Susanna Starr

New York City artist Susanna Starr uses processes of saturation, absorption, and even simple rubbing, to make delicate porous objects. Her work offers a glimpse into the unseen structures of familiar things – exploring questions of space and physicality. She received an MFA from Yale University and numerous awards and residencies – including The Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture, The Edward Albee Foundation Residency, two New York Foundation grants, a Dieu Donne Papermill Workspace Grant, and Stephen King’s Haven Foundation Grant. Her work is in several permanent collections including The Albright-Knox Gallery, NYC MTA/Arts For Transit, The US State Department, and many private collections. She exhibits actively in the U.S. and internationally.


“Saturations” is a body of work created by the singular process of absorption. Absorption is a transformative action resulting in a fundamental physical and perceptual shift. These pieces are surface narratives that relate in concept to photography. But instead of using light and emulsion, I saturate highly absorbent sheets with paint and “develop” the image by laying them to dry over common household objects. I let the materials take their course, and invite the opportunity for chance to determine the final result. As the pigment migrates and settles through the sheet, it captures and records, in minute detail, the physical textures and positive/negative space of the subjected surfaces. As the impression of these surfaces is absorbed, purely physical information evolves into a visual image that captures the object's unseen fundamental essence and reveals an enigmatic and indefinable “other” place. The end result is something unexpected - being able to see something familiar in an entirely new way. Inherently contradictory, the image is an exquisitely accurate rendering of reality, yet totally abstract.