Photo by Rachel Karas, Kent State University 2021
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Susanna Harris, based in Columbus, Ohio, is an interdisciplinary artist working in print media, and installation. Her work considers resilience through environmental destruction, and the human condition. She received her BA from Otterbein University, Westerville, Ohio, and her MFA from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. Some notable awards and funding she has received include the MAPC 2022 Research Travel and Beyond Emerging Artist Award, The Greater Columbus Arts Council Artists: Individuals Fellowship, 2021, an International Travel Award, 2019 from Kent State University’s Graduate Student Senate. Notable residencies include The Otterbein University Post-Baccalaureate A.I.R, Westerville, Ohio, 2018; Zea Mays Printmaking Residency, Florence, Massachusetts, 2020; Zygote Press, Cleveland, Ohio, 2022; and Morgan Conservatory, Cleveland, Ohio 2023.
As I consider my personal, and collective experiences with loss, disease, and grief I create installations with print media to explore the interconnectedness of ecological destruction, human fragility, and resilience. My recent bodies of work have been heavily influenced by dystopia themes, and cultures' current exploration of escapism. I look for moments in plants, fungi, and other botanical specimens to create magnified, imagined interpretations of the awe, and wonder they invoke. Fungus only grows after decay sets in leading to beautiful structures which facilitate energy’s transfer to new organisms. I use the materiality of paper altered through hand cutting, deeply embossing, and inking to create organic forms with color altered shadows. I start with photographs I take, and then designs are hand drawn and turned into digital line images creating the printing matrix. Each plate is used to transfer imagery onto paper which is then cut by hand. Each print is stacked together fluorescing onto the layer behind it creating an ominously unnatural glow. My light installations incorporate thin transparent paper in layers to both distort and draw attention to the cut prints and material underneath. The glowing elements in my work present both a looming presence as well as hope inspired by coral’s use of fluorescence in a last ditch effort to survive before bleaching occurs.