Suzanne Sbarge received her Bachelors Degree in Art History and Studio Arts from Barnard College in New York City and her Masters Degree in Art Education from the University of New Mexico. She has also studied studio arts at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Toulouse, France; Syracuse University in Florence, Italy; The Art Students’ League in New York City; University of Connecticut; University of Massachusetts; as well as Anderson Ranch in Colorado, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and Vermont Studio Center.
“I combine painting, photography, and collage in layered, experimental images to explore the endless possibilities for merging these complimentary media. My images are created by oil painting over mixed media photo collages. My work is primarily figure-based, with a narrative iconography conveying a sense of myth, ritual, twisted fairytales, and the surreal aspects of everyday life.
I am inspired by the alchemical tension between the paint and collage elements. “Pure” painters and painting critics have suggested that I paint my collaged imagery instead of cutting, gluing, and integrating them with paint. This would defeat the purpose for me, because the combining of media is integral to the message.
The juxtaposition of paint and collage causes the viewer to be jarred into an altered vision. Trying to visually figure out this tension causes one to look at the image with a different kind of perception. This “collaged state of mind” is what I look for in my own process and what I also hope the viewer experiences. The dialogue between the real and the surreal highlight life’s essential mysteries while serving as metaphors for life’s ambiguities.
My collages are narratives from my unconscious. I try to let accidents and chance, determine my choices while I compose collages. I have a background in archetypal psychology, which I’m sure comes into play.
I try to get in touch with the place where dreams come from to develop images that speak on a universal level. I like for viewers to find their own meanings and have their own experiences with my work. I seek to create images that are mysterious - to the viewer as well as to me. I like to be surprised by the strangeness, humor, and wisdom of the unconscious.”