Susan Hauptman

There comes a time when you ask yourself what you want from a drawing. Should they be considered studies or accomplished pieces. There are traditions in art that put drawings behind paintings when considered as finished pieces. Hauptman’s medium of choice is drawing, they are not compliments to painting, but finished pieces of art.

Hauptman constructs drawings with symbolism that is both personal, and at times mysterious. It is however, always illuminating. She has a formal aesthetic that compliments the narrative aspects of her work, visually simulating the staged feel of a deguerrotype. Technically, her drawings drift into and out of existence on the page, with some forms congealing while others fade away. Conventional space is constantly being challenged, creating a collage feel to some of the drawings. Each of the forms in the drawings seem to work independently, despite their juxtaposition to one another, giving a symbolic importance to everything in the composition. Hauptman herself, as an element in the composition, adds another layer of complexity. The clothing, or lack there of, is often a good indication of the physic of the drawing. Her mannerisms are also definite, and suggestively relate to the dress up quality some of the drawings have. How she chooses to represent herself, is always thoughtful and interesting.

Reviews of Hauptman’s work are sometimes negative, usually highlighting the disassociated quality in some of them. A “new objectivity” label is placed on them, to fit them into some sub genre. This is possibly the result of taking the physical likeness of Hauptman, as the sole source for driving the content. A picture should always be looked at as a sum of its parts, and be engaged respectively. Hauptman’s work is so personal, that is less easily defined. This highlights another potential issue that is important to contemporary art, accessibility. Hauptman’s drawings are not stand offish, though they do require a little more effort to draw some conclusions about them. This should not however, deter the avid art appreciator, for there is much to be gained in analyzing her methods of expression.

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