Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sue Cleveland

Sixteen thousand years ago someone painted a horse on a cave wall. I am humbled every time I see the images of the Lascaux paintings from France. And while I will never know why the artist braved that dark cave to draw on the walls, I do believe that veneration of animals played a part. I believe this because I, too, want to honor the spirit of the horse.

The horse has been a recurring symbol of strength and freedom in my work for 30 years. Since moving near to the Weminuche Wilderness Area in Colorado I have witnessed the constraints placed upon the wild by humans. As we continue to harness nature are we also redefining our symbolic imagery?

What better way to examine this question than through a visual narrative? This series on cloth begins with a painted representation of a wild horse charging towards its future. The stitching represents the unanticipated results of human touch upon nature. Throughout the series I alter and manipulate the printed imagery, layering the consequences of ownership and monitoring upon my equine symbol.

In the end the strength of this iconic creature is always present - even in the ethereal silhouettes of the Gold Rush pieces. It is perhaps no happenstance that sixteen thousand years ago an artist painted a horse on a cave wall.


Sue Cleveland, a Colorado based artist, has exhibited nationally over the last 30 years. Her award-winning artwork has been featured in the Austin American Statesman. Cleveland's creative successes also include her work as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction work. Since joining forces with Dixie Evatt in 1998 as 39 Stars the writing partners have written two mystery novels, a screenplay and procured the movie rights for Red Roundtree's life story for Love Spell Productions in Burbank, California. When asked why she is as likely to interview a 92-year old bank robber in prison as she is to study complex cloth for two years with Jane Dunnewold, Cleveland replied, "Both the writer and artist base their symbolic narrative on experience. They then create art by their translation of those experiences."

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