‘Susan Silas: the self-portrait sessions’ Investigates the Projected Self
Brooklyn-based visual artist Susan Silas’ recent exhibition at the CB1 Gallery entitled “the self-portrait sessions” brings us an intimate look at identity and expression. Photographs, sculptures and video work delve into our personal relationships with privacy and the self and includes the ways our modern lives have delegated our self-identifications. Through these intimately personal explorations, Silas traverses how we as humans relate to ourselves in private in contrast with how we relate to ourselves through others.
As our privacy is infringed upon and is now nearly disappearing in these modern times, the ways in which one relates to the self in solitude have become increasingly obscure. Not only is it becoming scarce but the concept of privacy itself has undoubtedly lost value in our culture. In the advent of the selfie culture, we are caught in an influx of the self-image regularly projected into the public eye – the very meaning of privacy is called into question and transformed as contemporary life continues to evolve. Silas’ latest works turn the lens onto what such a change in privacy means for how an individual relates to themselves. Through returning her own gaze in a mirror, Silas echoes the way the self is constructed through one’s subjective gaze, as opposed to the way the self is constructed through the projections of the gazes of others.
Silas has built a diverse career throughout the United States and Europe with her recent work’s most prevalent themes being landscape and memory. One of her most renowned pieces, “Helmbrechts Walk,” made its way through exhibits in the United States, Canada and Germany. Retracing the steps of the historic death march of female Jewish prisoners of the Helmbrechts concentration camp, the ‘98 memorial work paints their stories through video, still images and writings. Uniquely divergent from the work she is known for, Silas began experimenting with self-portraiture in the late ‘70s and began making plaster casts of her face in ‘92 and again 20 years later. Each cast reveals more changes in the artist’s appearance from year to year and five have been cast in bronze and beeswax for the latest exhibition.