Susan Collis – When we loved you best of all
Solo exhibition at Touchstones, Rochdale
29th July to 30th September 2017.
Susan Collis uses a variety of techniques and strategies to investigate issues concerning interpretation, craft, value and labour. Everyday objects are presented etched, splattered and stained with marks of work, wear and tear. At first glance, the marks seem to be the accidental results of normal use, and as such seem meaningless and not worthy of examination. Collis is interested in the shift of perception that takes place upon discovery that they are, in fact, careful, intentional acts, and that the materials used are traditionally valued for their financial or decorative properties. A tired stepladder covered with paint drips from years of use has been simulated by the meticulous inlaying of diamonds, pearls, opals and other prized materials. A bucket catching a drip from the gallery ceiling may not be the result of neglect, rather a complex staging of pumps, water-tanks and false walls to artificially create the scenario. Typically works involve momentous amounts of often hidden labour to create an object that may easily go unnoticed, but is replete with value, be it material or conceptual. Much of Collis’ work can go un-noticed and this visual gamble results in a possible conceptual pay-off that rewards concerted investigation by the viewer.
Recent solo exhibitions include When we loved you best of all at Touchstones, Rochdale; The Price of Nails at Meessen de Clercq, Brussels; Since I fell for you, Ikon, Birmingham; Twice Removed, Espacio Minimo, Madrid.
Group exhibitions include Lifelike at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, touring to New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; The Workers at MASS MoCA, De-building at Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand; La Vie Mode d’Emploi (Life a User’s Manual) at Messeen De Clerq, Brussels; MYSTICS or RATIONALISTS? at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh; False documents and other illusions, Portland Museum of Art, Maine; Bizarre Perfection, The Israel Museum,Jerusalem; Apparently Invisible, The Drawing Center, NY; At Your Service, The David Roberts Foundation, London and Out of the Ordinary, The V&A Museum, London.
Susan Collis, Something between us, 2017
Graphite pencil on gallery wall
Susan Collis, State Border, 2010
Sonokeling rosewood, bog oak, walnut, white holly
91.5 x 48.5 x 2.5 cm
Susan Collis, 100% Cotton, 2004
Overalls, embroidery threads
155 x 25 x 17 cm
Susan Collis, Glory Days, 2017
Cashmere, alpaca, mohair, Harris tweeds, gold threat, silver thread, metallic thread, wool, silk, cotton and linen tapestry
101 x 55 cm
Susan Collis, Work on it, 2004
New wooden table, adhesive vinyls
71 x 114 x 76 cm
Susan Collis, Better days, 2017
Dustsheet, embroidery thread
300 x 100 cm
This work is comprised of a dust sheet or drop cloth, into which Collis has made hundreds of stitches, each implying a small droplet of paint or stain. Collis deliberately replicates the accidental build up of marks during the objects day to day use, even including areas of washed out pink staining by using a half stitch technique.
Susan Collis, All is Lost, 2014
Graphite and coloured pencil on paper
21 x 26 cm
All is Lost is an attempt by Collis to draw the cumulative settling of dust on a sheet of paper. The work employs marks of varying shape and intensity in coloured pencil and graphite.
Susan Collis, Any Paradise can trudge here, 2014
Cashmere, alpaca, mohair, Harris tweeds, gold threat, silver thread, metallic thread, wool, silk, cotton and linen tapestry, wood
45 x 40 x 5 cm
Susan Collis, Depth Charge, 2013
0.9mm HB pencil leads, framed
Susan Collis, And tomorrow…(Black Square after Malevich), 2014
Graphite on paper
78 x 78 cm
Collis travelled to the Hermitage in St Petersburg to study and document the cracking in the surface of Malevich’s black square painting of 1915. The painting has degraded over time and the surface has taken on a rich, cracked texture, ironically undermining the notion that this work was the ‘zero-point’ of painting.
Susan Collis, Bespoke, 2012
Lambs-wool and Alpaca hand woven herringbone Tweed,
custom Formica laminate on pine, custom Formica laminate on
chipboard, hand screen printed wool twill, screen printed
envelopes, hand rolled glazed earthenware tiles, vinyl banners,
hand printed C-print.
337 x 225 x 140 cm
Bespoke (2012) is an arrangement of items against a wall, covered in black splash marks, a now familiar motif within Collis’ practice. The work is a jigsaw of separately produced goods, that when aligned, demonstrate a coherent unifying mark across their surface. The production of the mark-bearing materials has been broken down into several small commissions, produced by commercial manufacturers ranging from small-scale designer-makers to large industrial companies. The firm, Formica, has produced two custom laminates, variants of their County Cherry and Classic Walnut that are interrupted by black drips and splashes. Collis commissioned a hand woven herringbone Tweed to resemble the grey packing blanket used by art handlers, with flecks of colour inserted into the fabric. The black splash is woven into the sheet, and continues from the printed vinyl wall banner, over veneered boards, to a screen printed dust-sheet and hand glazed ceramic tiles below.
Susan Collis, Other man’s poison, 2017
18 carat white gold (hallmarked), emerald (mounted on silver)
Edition of 3
Susan Collis,Each to Their Own, 2013
Graphite on paper, in two parts
Susan Collis, The necessary graft, 2010
Graphite on paper, in three parts
165 x 80 cm installed
Susan Collis, Revival, 2013
White paper, renaissance gold leaf
Dimensions variable, in four parts
Susan Collis, By the way, 2017
Vinyl on wooden chair
80 x 39 x 44 cm
Detail of Susan Collis, By the way, 2017
Susan Collis, Dont get your hopes up, 2017
Paladium leaf on aluminium, platinum lead on aluminium, rose gold leaf on aluminium, platinum leaf on aluminium, 24 carat gold leaf on aluminium
In 5 parts
Susan Collis, Another day, 2017
Platinum (hallmarked), woven silk.
Edition of 3
Susan Collis, Bessie, 2009
Pencil on paper, construction
42 x 50 x 27 cm
This work is construction made of paper, upon which Collis has drawn the woven pattern of the ubiquitous plastic bags found across the world
Susan Collis, You don’t want to know, 2017
Hallmarked silver and white sapphire
Edition of 3