SUZANNE KHALIL, USA
A Statement Exhibit by Jada Global Artists
- 1971, American
Suzanne (Suzie) Khalil is an artist who has also served others as a professor/educator, cognitive scientist, researcher, wife and parent. “We are all of the things that we do, and we are in a constant state of becoming; but of all that I am and strive to be, I am, at my core, an artist.” Coming of age in the postmodern era, Suzie honed her conceptual art-making in the sphere of photography, connected to her mentor lineage—the late Philip Joyce, John Fergus-Jean and (his mentor) the late Dick Zakia. She held graduate fellowships at The Ohio State University (MFA) and Arizona State University (PHD) where her critical practice of art and her studies in cognitive science psychology were built on a foundation of understanding cultural mythology and culminated in her critical research of aesthetics, perception and representation. Her museum pieces have been site-specific installations (often involving paint, text, and photography). Suzie has lived in the northeast (born in Pittsburgh, PA), midwest, southwest, southeast and finds herself most at home where she currently resides in the pacific northwest (Portland, Oregon). Suzie believes that creating – the act of bringing into existence through vision, intention, and action – is critical to human well-being. Associating with a deeply felt artist connection to the life and work of (the late) Meret Oppenheim, Suzie resonates with Oppenheim’s sentiment—nobody will give you freedom, you have to take it. Suzie identifies as a metamodernist thinker and maker; she is Jada.
Being a postmodern artist processing the human experience, I have lived in a constant state of unrest or “tortured peace.” Much of my life as a postmodern artist had been pained by developing deeply philosophical and conceptual pieces. My work was becoming increasingly controlled by my sensibilities as a postmodernist. Deconstruction of both the medium and of the state of the arts became par for the course and my art began to drain my spirit, leaving me empty and exhausted. Simply, the pain of making art happened only when it was exceeded by the pain of not making it—all the while being driven by the emotional need to create.
As my postmodern wiring began to weather, I found myself drawn to create imagery that embodied greater energy and positive affect but wasn’t regarded by me as serious art. Though thematically heavy at times (e.g., portrait of a man celebrating his strength as a double amputee), the emerging new work was lifting above esotericism—the sandbags of my postmodern bones were left on the ground. The experience of creating the new pieces was proving to be immediate – joyful – light and less calculated. New works needed little explanation to digest and were easily accessible and democratic in this way. They could be shared on the fly, in a text or through Instagram. (Prior pieces quite literally needed nanoscopes to view or ticketed access to a museum space because of their minimalist qualities.) This shift in my making happened gradually and intuitively, over a ten-year period before the pandemic. Once COVID was upon the world, I was already well into the throes of being a metamodernist maker and keenly aware of the new dawn in the arts coinciding with my own awakening.
Acknowledging that metamodernism contextualized my new sensibility and being faced with the needs of an aching world, I have doubled down on my conviction that what we consider as serious art and as the practice of art-making expand to include a fuller spectrum of emotional values, a wider pathos—one which also includes optimism. Moving beyond deconstructivism, the act of critically constructing and re-constructing involves optimism. Optimism is a vehicle which propels vision and possibility thinking.
It is not that I have subscribed or succumbed to a movement. Rather I have found that the doctrines of the present movement make sense of my natural course of actions as an artist and of work I am now producing post-postmodernism.
There is a beyond the great beyond, and it is where I find myself as a maker emerging from postmodernism. Seizing the opportunity to construct more than deconstruct, the work I now offer is rooted in my conviction that the artist is called upon as a first responder to help humankind find a productive path forward through intense emotional, social, economic, spiritual, and physical agony and turmoil. The human spirit does that—it finds a way forward. Mine has.
42″ x 38″ Archival pigment print on acid free paper
40″ x 30″ Archival pigment print on acid free paper
20″ x 20″ Archival pigment print on acid free paper
Good Morning Metamodernism, 2021