Susan Smith Trees is a sculptor who has exhibited throughout the United States for the past 25 years. She has created installations, wall reliefs and floor works in addition to pen and ink and oil drawings. Manipulation of materials are her touchstone to experimentation and the unknown. Hovering between figuration and abstraction, she weaves a primitive nature of form and shape into a conversation about the inanimate object versus life force. Moving from the tangible to the psychological, her work reveals the duplicity of what is familiar and what is hidden. Trees’s career has involved working in multiple materials including thermoplastic, polyurethane expandable foam, cast bronze and resin. She peels away, stretches and tears materials to create forms of rippled masses. Her molds are wrapped over rocks, marred with crevices and kneaded into organic components.
Trees has won numerous awards including the Artists Program Grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and commissions from the Open Lands Association of Lake Forest, IL. She has been represented by Gallery H in Three Oaks, Michigan and her works have appeared in "Calculated Leap" by Teresa Devine, "Sculpture Invasion 2015 published by the Koehnline Museum of Art, and "Strong Exhibits for a February Spring" the Paul Klein Art Letter. She is affiliated with the International Sculpture Center, the Chicago Artists Coalition, Arts Alliance Illinois, Dialogue Chicago and Woman Made Gallery. Her sculptures and drawings are included in private collections throughout the Unites States. She currently lives and works in Chicago, IL.
My work concerns the confrontation with the forces of the psyche and the attempt to give physical expression to the influences that stir the interior human terrain.
Materials drive the process. By the fact of manipulating the material, I explore its capabilities and limitations and discover its possibilities. It is through this relationship that direction and form emerge, and I am able to tap into a part of myself that speaks from a distant, foreign place. I put my trust in the materials because they put me in touch with the unknown. I push the boundaries of the material in an attempt to excavate its ability to express the intangible. Letting the material lead allows the unleashing of an inner world in a kind of physical exorcism suggesting the experience of the body as a gateway to transformation.
For me, making art is about plunging into the dark and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche and breaking down the barriers that protect us.
“There is only one journey, going within.” R.M. Rilke