(American, b. 1968)
Suzette Bross uses routines from her daily life to create contemplative artworks that elevate the mundane time spent commuting or wandering into moments of essential importance to the human psyche. Her photographs contain identifiable subject matter; however, the camera is not used in service of faithful documentation, but rather it is used to describe experiences of interiority and to consider how the mind wanders in relation to external visual stimulus. Specifically, Bross works within the patterns and rhythms that occur as she moves from place to place, as is evident in her recent series Walks (2012–2014). In precisely-aligned grids of photographs taken from waist level looking down at the ground, the artist documents walks step-by-step as she traverses pathways, city streets, hallways, and building interiors. The textures of the terrain she crosses never fully conform to the rigid logic of her photographs’ gridded sequencing. Dizzying patterns emerge where the geometry of an environment appears to continually morph beneath her feet, seemingly in sync with her own internal thoughts.
As a series, the works in Walks frame the dynamic interplay of body, mind, and surroundings that accompanies the process of finding one’s way. The optical bends and spatial confusion in each neatly organized artwork is a nod to the elasticity of the lone walker’s movements that bend around a more rigid, encircling world. Devoid of familiar points of orientation, such as a horizon line or recognizable landmark, the works prevent viewers from lingering on the familiar. Without points of orientation, Bross leaves viewers to ruminate on the density of individualized experiences available within a single route.
Suzette Bross completed her BS in Television and Film from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (1990) and her MFA from the Institute of Design, IIT, Chicago, IL (1999). She has been included in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally, including exhibitions at the Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL (2013), the Cleveland Museum of Art (2012), Martha Schneider Gallery (2011, 2007, 2004, 2003), and the Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, MO (2006). Her work is held in the permanent collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA, and the Block Museum, Evanston, IL, among others.
This text is excerpted from an essay written by MoCP Assistant Curator Allison Grant that originally appeared in a catalogue produced by Jack Geary Contemporary.