Susan Mikula Finds Beauty in America

By Editors
February 24, 2010

Artist Susan Mikula balances life—with partner Rachel Maddow—with art; and her latest photography show opens Thursday in San Francisco. Check out highlights of Mikula’s work here.

Artist Susan Mikula is balancing spending time with her jet-setting partner Rachel Maddow and readying her first show in San Francisco, American Device: Recent Photographs, which captures American industry at the edges of the country.

Mikula sat down for an interview with to talk about her show, which includes photographs of ports and refineries along the great stretch of industrialized land between Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico known as the Bolivar Peninsula, including Port Arthur, Texas, and SoCal’s Port of Long Beach.

Selections from American Device and some of Mikula’s previous shows appear here and on the following pages. “I’m so drawn to the beauty of these places – there’s an almost mystical ends-of-the-earth, end-of-time feeling about them,” says Mikula. “I know when you say ‘refinery,’ beauty is not what jumps into people’s heads, but I’ve tried to capture that brutalist beauty in these pictures.”

Mikula also talks about life with Maddow – she is “really supportive of my work,” she says – and her early days as a photographer.

Click here for more information about Milula’s San Francisco show and check out some samples of her work on the following pages.