Susan Amorde is Speaking Out
By Genie Davis
Shoebox Projects has hosted its second artist-in-resident: sculptor and installation artist Susan Amorde, who held a reception of her work on January 7th.
Well known for her sculptural work with vintage suitcases, Amorde takes on the metaphor of emotional baggage with a sense of wonder that allows viewers to “travel” with their baggage. She vividly explores the intersection of the need for change and our reluctance to let go; her work both emotionally evocative and edgily surreal.
For this residency, Amorde stretched her work, adding elements such as animal teeth and antlers into the mix.
“I continued with my exploration of the ‘Baggage’ theme, and used vintage suitcases in the metaphorical sense within the political realm. In addition, I used new objects, such as a shark’s jaw and teeth, a transformed medicine cabinet and picket signs,” she asserts.
Amorde says “The purpose of the Shoebox Projects’ month long residency was to have the opportunity to do experimental work. Due to the recent political events in the United States, I felt compelled to do a body of work in the political arena, which is new for me.”
As a space where emerging and mid-career artists have the opportunity to experiment with ideas and directions, Shoebox Projects presented a perfect venue to dive into politics.
With this exhibition, the artist’s message is potent and compelling. With titles such as “Trumps Cabinet,” “Trump Tower,” “Don’t Fuck with the Girls,” and “Golden Turkey Phez,” Amorde has indeed opened up a whole new category of handling baggage.
“My goal in this body of work was to give a voice to my feelings, views, and reactions of the presidential election. Speaking up and taking action to protect our rights, freedoms and protection of the environment is paramount for me going forward,” she explains.
“Trumps Cabinet” features a bevy of anthropomorphized penises assigned as “Secretary of Labor” and “Secretary of State.” Contained behind glass, with signage indicating this cabinet is indeed the gilded providence of “Trump,” these patriarchal symbols aptly and sharply represent the pending administration. Her “Trump Tower” consists of three precariously balanced, gilded suitcases, their tenuous position and opulence both perfectly juxtaposed.
“This is me speaking out, take-one. We also need to have hope and to know that our voices have power and can generate hope for the future,” she relates.
Amorde notes that she wants the show to speak to all of these issues. Along with individual pieces, the show includes picket signs ready for use in the January 21st Women’s March in Los Angeles. The signs feature messages such as “Protect the Right to Choose” and “Save the Earth Not Big Businesses Bottom Line.”
The Los Angeles-based artist found the Shoebox Projects space to be “a wonderful blank canvas. It was a challenge to develop a new body of work in a month.” But Amorde says she thoroughly enjoyed the experience and working at the Brewery Artist Colony where the space is located. “It’s always a great experience to work in a new environment,” she adds.
Amorde maintains a studio at 1019West in Inglewood, California, exhibiting both locally and nationally. You can view more of her work at www.susanamorde.com.