Susan Amorde: Sculptor and Installation Artist
This week, we bring you the work of Susan Amorde. Susan uses vintage suitcases and luggage carriers as metaphors of the metaphysical baggage we all carry with us. Susan’s work will be in Feminism Now at Shoebox Projects, February 25 to March 11 and in Points of View at Muzeumm opening March 3. Susan was recently profiled in the print edition of the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
My recent mixed media works explore the notion of baggage— in all its emotional and physical manifestations.I use vintage suitcases I find at markets, thrift stores, and garage sales assembling them in myriad ways.When I happen upon a suitable suitcase, I know it instantly— as something about its character and my imagining of its history immediately resonates. I choose these specific vintage items for their personalities and for the narrative potential I can weave into my art. My sculptures are imbued with a sense of nostalgia; however, I am simultaneously exploring the more psychological and emotional connotations of baggage.
I am meticulous about my materials and carefully consider all aspects of the elements that comprise my artworks. Nothing is arbitrary or left to chance. Materials are chosen for their visual, historical and conceptual significance. My suitcase pieces range in size; some are shown as individual works while others are combined to become large-scale sculptures and installations. I address themes that range from the intimate to the universal.
In many of my works, I comment on psychological and social issues while simultaneously asking the viewer to imagine not only the contents of the valises but also their prior histories and the various travels of their diverse but absent owners. I believe these pieces to be about collective experiences.
In some of my smaller pieces I insert antique brass portholes into the sides of the suitcases. The portholes function as windows into private, womb-like worlds that are filled with small objects and carefully lit from within. The vignettes I create in these water filled spaces evoke a sense of discovery as if the viewer has happened upon a sunken treasure— in the form of small keepsakes— that reference the passage of time as well as the notion of being hooked or captured. In these pieces, I hope to evoke the sense of looking into the souls of the past and present. The pieces are also about the transformation of personal narratives into something universal.
In all my works, both past and present, I am interested in metaphorically representing human emotions, universal themes and the baggage people carry— both literally and spiritually—using carefully chosen vintage objects that I transform and juxtapose in various ways to comment on the hardship and joys of life’s journey.