desidero : Press Release

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Michael Kusek at communication angle

William Baczek Fine Arts
36 Main street
Northampton, NA 01060
Exhibition Dates: September 28 – October 29, 2011
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 1st, 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Wednesday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Thursday–Saturday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 PM
413.587.9880/ info(at)




NEW YORK, NY – Susan Mikula will present solo showings of new work on both coasts during the month of October, 2011. On the West Coast she will be presenting selections from American Bond, her third show at George Lawson Gallery and her first at their new location in Culver City in Los Angeles. On the East Coast, desidero will be her first solo show at William Baczek Fine Arts in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Susan Mikula’s creative roots rest deep in the aesthetic legacies of painting and photography, so it’s no surprise that her art is sometimes taken for painting — but it is photography. Shooting exclusively with Polaroid cameras for over a decade and – of necessity – expired Polaroid film, she works only with available light, manually controlling exposures to exploit the quirks of the cameras and the volatility and decay of salvaged film to create painterly, almost impressionistic imagery.

Mikula has developed an expert understanding and instinct for how to turn the inelegant degradation of the film stock into a powerful ally in her creative process. The resulting images are neither cropped nor retouched as they travel from camera to final print.

Not content to simply ‘print and frame’ as a photographer, Mikula is also known for her involvement with the materiality and presentation of her work, getting as involved in making selections for the printing, mounting, framing and hanging as with the original image creation. While certain elements of her aesthetics reach back to the 19th century, these other facets of her creative process put her very much in sync with contemporary practice. The result is work of depth and enduring impact.

Critics have described her work as as “alluring,” “full of ominous beauty,” “complex” and “arresting.”

Mikula lives and works in New York City and Western Massachusetts with her partner, MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow.

desidero is Susan Mikula’s first foray back into portraiture since her 2006 show 9 Portraits.  Stepping away from the classic portraitist’s effort to capture the essence of an individual, Mikula instead uses her three male models for a study of emotion, movement, and age.

The resulting images in desidero are in her typically tight chromatic range – some are near monochromatic – but with a vast range of tonal values within their limited hues.  The subject is often blurred, sometimes multi-layered – though there is no digital manipulation of the images.  The result is emotional, personal, almost prying insight.

This brand new body of work consists of twenty-seven portraits (of which twenty-one will be on display in the show at William Baczek Fine Arts).

Sixteen of the exhibited works will be presented as matte chromogenic prints, mounted to Dibond and flush-framed in a simple, contemporary frame painted a custom white (thirteen at 30”x31” framed; three at 48”x50” framed).  The other five pieces are translucent Duratrans prints that will be presented – and available for purchase – on LED lightboxes custom-built for the images.

William Baczek Fine Arts is located in Northampton in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. Founded in 1996, it represents artists working in a variety of media, including painting, sculpting, photography, video and printmaking in both representational and abstract styles.