A multimedia artist, Susan Allbert explores the themes of actions and consequence and considers notions of ownership and migration. She examines the ways that small actions can have powerful social and environmental impacts.
Throughout her practice, she collects and subsequently reuses discarded objects, reimagining them through embroidery, print, photography and textiles. By packaging them decoratively, she shifts the context, the detritus become hidden in plain sight. Her goal is to create something of worth and inherent value from that which was useless and discarded. Her work fuses technology with the handmade to create new ways of seeing our realities.
For the work in False Dichotomy, Allbert took inspiration from two ancient Japanese crafts:
- Aizome – a natural method of indigo dyeing as practiced in Japan for over 1400 years.
- Katagami – a method of printing using intricate hand cut stencils. The process of creating them is painstaking and takes years to master.
Allbert reached out to BUAISOU, a collective from Tokushima, Japan with a studio and workshop in Brooklyn, New York. BUAISOU farm, produce and dye with naturally fermented indigo leaves known as “sukumo”, using the same traditional methods that have been practised for centuries in Japan. They are one of only five such farms left practicing in the Awa region of Japan today. Their collaboration resulted in a group of images which have the traditional feel of Japanese indigo and katagami but were rendered with digitally manipulated images and laser cut stencils. Using found objects which relate to both Japanese and American culture the results are a hybrid of revered ancient crafts and modern technology. Using a japanese technique known as Bassen or discharge printing the images adorn indigo dyed t-shirts.
About the Artist
Susan has shown in several group shows, including “ Hands On” at Pocket Utopia Gallery and “30 Artist 30 Years ” at Phyllis Harriman Gallery. She was awarded a Climate Action award by the Human Impacts Institute in 2014 and her series Tidemarks were recently selected for the Artbridge exhibition “ Roots”, opening this year. Parallel to her art practice, she has worked as a designer in Italy, the US, and UK. Originally from the U.K., she graduated from the University of Central England with a B.A. Honours in textiles and an MFA from Royal College of Art, London.