Susan Eisen’s life experiences and travels flow effortlessly through her art.
One can visualize the sand-dune expanses and wadis of the Sinai Peninsula, where she once camped, or sense the dry desert riverbeds of the American Southwest in her large ceramic bowls, vessels and other creations.
“These landscapes just get inside of me so profoundly,” Eisen said. “My work reflects my responses to nature – the carvings of wind and water, the movements of oceans and planets, the layered outcroppings of the earth. From the quiet of my garden to the powerful forms and dramatic light of the desert, landscapes inspire me with their range of color and shadow, textures and feeling.”
Susan Eisen: Meditations in Clay will run at the Hunterdon Art Museum until Jan. 8, 2017.
When working in her studio, she lets intuition take over, guiding her as the clay flows through her hands. “My clay is hand-built by pinching and paddling, imprinting and layering,” Eisen notes. “I create openings to expose interiors allowing patterns of light to move through.”
Eisen said her work is an intensely spiritual experience and a part of her continuing spiritual journey.
“I work intuitively; I’m not thinking,” she said. “It’s as if I’m outside of myself in a different zone which allows the work to emerge in its own time through my hands. Often it is a slow quiet process of pinching, stretching adding layer upon layer of delicate rhythmic coils and slabs of clay.”
The exhibition includes several of Eisen’s monoprints. Monotypes allow Eisen to enjoy the easy access to color, the immediacy of using ink and textue to build up imagery and the tactile quality of the paper.
“Here color is my main catalyst,” she said. “The imagery represents cycles and movement of sound, like the ringing of my Tibetan bowl and the poetry of distant comets and planets.”
Eisen’s work has appeared internationally in numerous exhibitions including ones at the Gallery Dai Ichi Arts in New York City; the Boca Museum of Fine Arts in Boca Raton, Florida; the Koester Kunstkammer Moenchengladbach in Germany; the Galleri Krebsen in Copenhagen, Denmark. Eisen was one of several artists featured in HAM’s East & West Clay Works exhibition in 2012.
Eisen’s work has served as inspiration for other artists. Composers have created music based on her art and a dancer even choreographed a routine based on one of Eisen’s pieces. “I don’t (create art) for that reason, but that’s one of the highest rewards to me – it’s such a beautiful thing to know my work can light up something in someone else.”
Image: Susan Eisen, 1990, Peace