The ancient crafts have always held a great fascination for me.

 

Yet physical contact with materials is fast becoming an endangered form of work in our “advanced” culture. Somehow, the further we move into the digital divide, the more appealing and important  the “slow” art forms like forging, weaving, casting and carving become.

It also seems to me that human beings have a fundamental interest in story and character and we are always searching for ourselves.

 

My sculpture has always been figurative. Although I have worked in clay and steel, paper, wood  and now glass, my concerns have remained the same, the absurdity of the human condition.

 

And, of course,  it is impossible for an artist not to be influenced by their environment and their times.

Homeland Security

 

Cast plaster, carved wood, branches, stones & chain

3 versions -Various sizes

2017

It seems to me that everywhere you look, people are throwing verbal ( and some actual) stones at each other. Now we seem to be stockpiling them, ready to hurl at the next insult, the next outrage.  As the “noise” gets louder, we hide in our homes and worry. And our homes become more and more fragile, illustrating the myth of “homeland security”.

Glass House with Stones

 

Cast concrete, leaded glass, stones

48” x 48” x 36” high

2016

 

I began “Glass House with Stones” during the 2016 election for the obvious reasons: stone throwing was rampant. Sadly, not much has changed. The glass house, of course, speaks to the fragility of our own positions.

The Conversation: Talking to Ourselves

 

Cast glass, gold leaf on steel bases, with LED ribbons

each 15” x 12” x 36’ high

2015-2016

 

I firmly believe that in recent years we have begun to live in an echo chamber society. Somehow, we have become so polarized that we only speak to people who agree with us. It seems too dangerous to even bring up subjects where we might seriously disagree; even with close friends! Consequently, we only read or listen to formats where we will hear what we want and need to hear in order to validate our own opinions…thus, an echo chamber.

Some years ago, I began to create a series of sculptures that attempted to visually address this circularity.

These heads, while made from different colored glass are all cast from the same mold and the lighted“conversations” are LED ribbons; endlessly looping back on themselves.

Cloud9 Cast paper, dyes, steel rods8 ft. high, 36 total2014 These were created for an exhibit called, “Cloud9” based on a statement from “Wired” magazine that declared: “In the future, all your data will be stored in the cloud”.I wondered, if the clouds were filled with data, where do the dead people sit? Have the angels and cherubs been evicted? And how does all that information get there?Thus these faces became cherub-like clouds, all sucking up, or perhaps, spitting out, information! 

Too Much Information I

 

Cast paper masks, automotive paints, vinyl tubing

variable sizes

2014

 

These began with a life-sized clay mask of my eldest granddaughter, then about five years old.

From clay, I cast  series of masks in paper, each face identical, except for the colors, The faces were attached to each other by vinyl tubing, going into and out of their mouths.

Too much information…

Too Much Information II

 

Cast Aluminum masks, bicycle wheel, telephone wire.

Little Black Dress

 

Sculpture by Suzanne Cohan-Lange

Poetry & Sound  by Sherry Antonini

Video by Niki Nolin

 

2008 -2012

 

Little Black Dress is a collaborative study in self-expression, fashion, the body, the self and society.  It has been exhibited in many different configurations, ranging from only 12 figures to the original 102v and in a dozen different galleries & museums in three states.

 

The original version of Little Black Dress was a large, room sized multimedia installation consisting of 100 figures surrounded by text, sound and video. The lines of text, which in some installations are written directly on the walls, are excerpted from the installation’s corresponding video and sound piece. Inside these lyrical lines are fragments of stories-the temporal and evolving accounts that make up a woman’s life.

 

Depending upon the installation,the sculptures stand in front of 1 large or 3 small video screens each featuring bright red lips which whisper the poetry. The small sculpted torsos, are supported by 48” tall flexible rods that allow the women to sway back and forth yet, like women,  always spring back.

 

The Little Black Dresses arise from becoming caught in our own net of beliefs, the magic and folly of multi-taking, and the power of our own resiliency.

 

We present a chorus of voices.

False Idols  (Gods and Goddesses)

 

Wood veneer on Luan panels, stains, dyes

 

48” x 60” high

 

2011

 

I find the old stories beguiling, especially those ancient myths that still speak to us today. Rather like the ancient Greeks, we seem to worship an odd assortment of gods and goddesses…all seeming to be endowed with great beauty and equally bad behavior. Even thousands of years later, there are certain archetypes of style and beauty that haven't changed much since Ovid wrote his "Metamorphoses”.  Our fascination with wealth, power, appearance and assorted deadly sins continues unabated.

 

Just look at our glossy magazines…

21st. Century Caryatids

 

Some years ago I began creating a series of life sized versions of the Caryatids. While best known in Chicago as the pillar-like ladies who hold up the Museum of Science and Industry, their real history is rich and fascinating. Seen as far back as 3000 BC, these ancient priestesses of Artemis represented the traditional seven pillars of wisdom or seven “mothers” of society.

 

The Caryatids include a wide range of carved and assembled elements. ranging from antique mannequins to tree trunks, hand made felt to fishing tackle and panty hose, they have become a meditation on the place of women in society: to continually and endlessly “repair and rebuild civilization”.

 

Working with talented collaborators, video artist, Niki Nolin and poet, Sherry Antonini has allowed me to more fully explore the historic place of women who are always there to pick up the pieces,  pack up the tents and suitcases and move along.

From Pompeii to Beirut to New Orleans, not much has changed.