36 Views at the Seawall

Image Essay by Susan Denniston

Reconstruct|Reconsider

 

Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston
Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston Detail: 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston 36 Views at the Seawall by Susan Denniston

 


Artist's Statement

I live near the ocean and a concrete seawall. I have worked with seawall imagery for several years and wanted to create my own 36 Views at the Seawall, referencing 36 Views of Mount Fuji, the series of woodblock prints by the Japanese artist Hokusai (1760-1849).

Wave painting titled “Suruga Satta no kaijō” by Katsushika HokusaiWatching the destruction and repair of seawalls over the past several years has compelled us to reconsider our response to a rising tide and damaging storms. We ask if and how we are to rebuild.

With this in mind, I undertook 36 Views at the Seawall, hoping that the content and meaning of the work would inform the process I used to create it. I began by reconsidering old prints and went on to destroy (cut up) and rebuild (collage) them. I also created new prints to align with old fragments—to generate new images reflecting a new reality.

The final images are my “combines” of old prints, new prints, and timeless concerns. They reflect many printmaking methods: monotype, monoprint, drypoint, preliminary states of etchings, paper lithography, and more.

The individual prints are hung from delicate Asian scrolls that echo the Japanese origin of 36 Views of Mount Fuji—and the curl of breaking waves.

 


Art Information:

  • Susan Denniston’s February 2012 image essay in Talking Writing, “At the Seawall,” includes some of the prints that she used to construct the new series shown here.
  • “Suruga Satta no kaijō” (“Sea at Satta in Suruga Province”), from Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

 

"36 Views at the Seawall" © Susan Denniston 

 


Susan DennistonSusan Denniston is a printmaker and painter who lives in Scituate, Massachusetts. She studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Studio Camnitzer in Italy. Susan was a recent Visiting Artist at Wheaton College and was invited by the Attleboro Arts Museum to exhibit in the 2012 show 8 Visions. Her prints and paintings are regularly included in regional and national exhibitions at museums and galleries and have received numerous awards.

A juried artist member of the Boston Printmakers, the Cambridge Art Association, and the South Shore Art Center, Susan served as president of the Monotype Guild of New England from 2008 to 2010 and currently serves as treasurer for the Boston Printmakers. More of her work can be viewed at Susan Denniston's website.

36 Views at the Seawall: Reconstruct|Reconsider was created during a 2012 residency at the EES Arts print studio. Mark Pascale, curator of prints and drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago, selected the work for a national exhibit of monotypes and monoprints held this year at the Barrington Center for the Arts. The work received a juror’s award of merit.


 

Comments

These are amazing images that prompt a deeply complicated question about our place in nature's creative-destructive force. As a fan of geology I can't help but wonder at our audacity...We are like our own flawed seawalls, standing blithely resolute against nature and a living planet -- small and surprisingly effective until the needs of the earth outweigh our own. Beautifully done!

Hello Susan.
I think it is wonderful how each image is very unique yet it connects overall as one piece and, significantly, the underlying message emerges as even more relevant today.

Thank you Cynthia. Interestingly, some of my recent work has been with fabrics that I have dyed and stitched. I will say, the process of piecing and stitching fabric is more complex than that of cutting and collaging paper. Again, thank you for your observation and comment.

Hi Sue,
Wow - absolutely love and the story behind it, etc. I need this for the wall in my living room in a bit smaller version...can you whip that up? Congrats on your work!, what a great next chapter post-MEDITECH.

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