Susan Tennant: Weaving Through Space
WELCOME to the Indy Arts Studio Series, where you will find behind-the-scenes information such as raw footage from conversations with featured artists, details about artwork development, artist bios, the show at-a-glance, and other details about the exhibitions in Gallery 924 at the Arts Council.
Weaving Through Space
October 7 – 28, 2016
This October Gallery 924 presents Susan Tennant’s Weaving Through Space featuring organically engineered installations that incorporate straight and curved lines that reference flight and voyage. This exhibition will use Gallery 924 as a base to build into and through by forming interconnected structures focusing on curvilinear lines. The various artworks and installations will be constructed on-site by weaving and networking fiberglass rods, wood, and waxed cord throughout the interior space, appearing to go through the walls and ceiling, and wrapping around the air ducts. Tennant, a 2005-2006 Arts Council Creative Renewal Arts Fellow, will engage gallery patrons to view the physical gallery space, the sculptural forms, and the shadows they cast as a unified visual experience.
Prior to the exhibition’s opening, the Arts Council visited Susan Tennant’s studio on the northside of Indianapolis and spoke with her about the creation of Weaving Through Space.
Can you tell us about your journey to becoming an artist?
“Science, to me, is a parallel to art.”
Susan Tennant is an artist and educator who was born and raised in New Jersey. She received a BFA in ceramics from SUNY Alfred University’s School of Art and Design. In 1978, Tennant moved to Indiana with husband Phillip, who started the Herron School of Art and Design Furniture Design Department at IUPUI. Tennant found that her interest in science and art could be combined to teach lessons through stop-motion animation, and she began her career as an educator with Young Audiences of Indiana (now called “Arts for Learning.”)
“What I do in my art…is very much an expression of the journey.”
In 2006, Tennant received an Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship to explore outdoor sculpture parks. She thinks that documenting the work of other artists has helped her feel both rejuvenated and establish a goal of one day having her work in an outdoor sculpture park.
For the past 16 years, she has been a professor in the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, where she has experimented with animation and digital storytelling. Tennant also holds an MS from the School of Informatics and Computing and a MFA from Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI.
How will you create a site-specific artwork in Gallery 924? What is the meaning behind the exhibition’s title, Weaving Through Space?
“The big picture is…building pieces that represent my life journey.”
Susan Tennant’s Weaving Through Space uses fiberglass rods, wood, and waxed cord to construct sculptures that appear to be configurations of straight and curvilinear lines. The exhibition will be a site-specific installation that uses three-dimensional pieces that reference flight and voyage through their composition and placement within the space.
While Gallery 924 poses some challenge to the artist, Tennant thinks the ductwork, windows, and long flat walls can be transformed from a box into a space filled with motion. Through lighting and arrangement, she will bring prefabricated sculptures and build additional pieces on-site to create an installation that appears to disappear and emerge through the walls and ceiling, reflective of a flight pattern, or “journey.” To Tennant, the fiberglass rods create lines that emulate working through life’s mental and physical obstacles. By “weaving through the space,” the artist will represent what she calls the “tapestry of life.”
For More Information:
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Gallery 924 is open Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. Thursdays from 9 am – 6 pm.