Susannah Bielak

My work explores points of contact, points of disconnect, and the breaking of boundaries between people. My vision is from above, from underneath, from the side—always telescoping. What I notice are people. Inspired by the interplay of identity and space, I use drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and installation to envision ideas about personal and social relationships. Propelled by social questions, I cut things down to their most essential parts—using elemental lines to relay physical and psychological space. Working largely with the figure, I employ gesture, the emotion of color, and sensory detail to choreograph each work.

For the last six months I've been obsessed with political handshakes—watching how hands skirt, graze, bow, divulge. The handshake can serve as a greeting, an offering, a truce, a false promise. A handshake can be a point of connection or intimacy, an expression of affection, or, at least, a willingness to engage. Whether orchestrated, spontaneous, or mediated; consoling, congratulatory, or confusing, the hands tell a story. So too do flowers.They are another oft-cited symbol, from break-up bouquets to dignitary gestures. There's a parallel between the decorum and euphemism in the orchestrated body language of politicians and the sentiment of flowers.

Here, Reagan and Gorbachev, trading pens like a pinky swear over the arms race, white roses for Betty Ford.

Artist CV


Seth Augustine
Kate Barclay
Veronika Bauer
Robert Becraft
Susannah Bielak
Boredom Patrol
Carl Burton
Mike Caloud
Raul Cardenas-Osuna
Fabian Cereijido
Matthew Coors
J. Tanner Cusick
Cathy de la Cruz
Evelyn Donnelly
Julia Dzwonkoski
James Enos
Deanna Erdmann
Kael Greco
Nico Herbst
Kate Hoffman
Scott Horsley
Sara Hunsucker
Glenna Jennings
Sharon Levy
Emiko Lewis-Sanchez

Derek Lomas
Esteban Martinez
Jennifer Medlin
Gretchen Mercedes
Patrick Miller
Elyse Montague
Patricia Montoya
Adam Moyer
Owen Mundy
Clare Parry
Kelly Pendergrast
Omar Pimienta
PG Toys
Serena Porrati
Iana Quesnell
Steven Rubin
Tristan Shone
Katherine Sweetman
The Magnum PIs
Robert Twomey
Yvonne Venegas
Nina Waisman
Caleb Waldorf
Kate Wall
Julia Westerbeke
Felipe Zuniga