Susannah Bettag


Artist Statement

My art explores women’s identities, roles, and self-perceptions. It challenges viewers to examine how they view women, and, on another level, how they view themselves viewing women. It is a pleasurable investigation of subjects such as sexuality and self worth, reflecting the confusing and conflicting internal impulses we’re often forced to navigate daily. It reflects on women’s roles, employing saccharine cynicism and personal revelations.

Built up of layers that both hide and highlight, my paintings, installations and new videos explore fantasy and nagging private doubts, confronting the always-alluring topic of sex, with whimsy and irony. Intricate details and small, innocent characters, spill out across the paintings, their obsessiveness referencing the intense minutiae in traditional women’s art (e.g. the quilt, the needlepoint). Large-scale pornographic nudes reference the traditional odalisque. Their overt sexuality is generic and meant to disturb as much as titillate. In three dimensions the contrasts remain – innocence and fear, dream and nightmare – questioning the gray area between mundane routines and overwrought fantasies. These challenge the viewer to make difficult choices regarding their gaze- the whimsy layer or the disturbing subtexts. Layers of meaning, just like layers of identity, literally overlap, one over the other.


 

Susannah Bettag’s Website