2013 International Art Festival
Artist Official Entries
Barnett SuskindJersey City NJ USA
B A R N E T T S U S K I N D As a child Suskind was fascinated with music -- by the age of four he was playing piano and composing music, later playing first violin in the New York state competitions. Simultaneously he was captivated by science studying biology and psychology leading to research in physiological psychology. Soon after leaving school he discovered the beauty and power of the visual arts and became fascinated by sculpture. Suskind's study of art history brought him exposure to the work of Henry Moore, Brancusi, and Rodin etc. all of which provided a grounding influence on his sculpture. Suskind's interest expanded to the exploration of two-dimensional space. Here his continuing interest in the psychology of awareness was manifest through the study of the perception of color resulting in his minimalist paintings. These paintings were strongly influenced by the works of Jules Olitski, Richard Diebenkorn, and Robert Motherwell all who provided points of inspiration. His interest evolved to a concentration on the emotionality and movement present in non-figurative painting to his current work which uses the face and figure as vehicles of communication. As the figure and face became prominent in Suskind's work, the art of Max Beckman, Arshile Gorky, Wilhelm de Kooning Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Marlene Dumas all provided fertile ground for expanding the visual conversation of art. Of the portraits the art critic Peter Frank states… This "conversation" and these portraits… "Make the viewers feel finally, not simply as if we know the subject-intimately, routinely, or at the very least "from somewhere"--but as if we could just as easily be the subject by casting his subject as "themselves" Suskind cast them all-or, better put, as any-of us. Donald Kuspit the senior American art critic says of Suskind's nudes "neither Rubens Venuses nor those of Titian, Monet or Cranach have, the primal quality of Suskind Venuses. It is this--their primordial opulence--which makes them unique in the history of modern art." Jan Castro the well-known art critic and writer perhaps best summed up Suskind this way "Suskind… Turns his figures, who often spring full-blown, like Botticelli's Venus, from his fertile imagination, into "every woman," and, by extension, into "ordinary people."… His gift as a painter is to remove his figures from the Royal and mythical backgrounds… in order to capture tangible universal moods. "The emotional states of his portraits are without antecedents in the history of art, and this cutting to the core, this way of expressing inner, unspoken states--is Suskind’s gift. … by using the frame to shape the faces and bodies in relation to themselves Suskind's paintings expose things that get hidden in real life" Barnett Suskind is an artist living in Manhattan and working at his studio at Mana Contemporary and in Tribeca New York.