Susan Michod

ART NEWS, November 1982, page 82
Susan Caldwell Gallery, New York

by Ronny Cohen


SUSAN MICHOD updates the surrealist tradition of pictorial environments and sculptural assemblages for the sensibility of the 1980s. Prairie Mantis (1982), measuring six by ten by four feet, combines a painting used as a backdrop with a tableau of objects set up on the floor directly in front of it. The painting shows the artist’s background as a pattern painter: a large acrylic on canvas covered from edge to edge with sensuous, sun-drenched swaying flowers, emphasizing the rhythmical patterns of the white, pink and blue blossoms and their long, graceful, bladelike stems. The painting’s strong image of nature brings out animistic qualities in the accompanying objects and dramatic aspect in their display. In this context, the tall green mechano-apparatus in front of the painting suggests a giant insect, while the curved metal pipes and gilded stem lamps topped by blossoms are believable as snakes and flowers. An empty old fashioned swivel chair that appears to be surrounded and menaced by the snakes and flowers invites speculations about the fate of human occupant and casts a provocative narrative edge over Prairie Mantis as a pictorial whole.

Tempus Hesperus (1982) is representative of the small-scaled shelf pieces that are filled with artist’s own inventive, precisely crafted interpretation of familiar things. In Tempus Hesperus, space toys provide the imaginative takeoff point.

Michod, in keeping with the strongly visual sensibility of the 1980’s, is as much concerned with the constructed qualities of her work as with maintaining a tense relationship between form and content. The result is a suggestive presentation that encourages leisurely flights of fancy both into and out of a provocative personal vision.

Susan Caldwell Gallery
New York, NY