“My artwork merges animals, plants and bits and pieces of the natural world with human figures and faces in dream-like scenes,” says Suzanne Sbarge, who shows her latest paintings in the show “Meta/Morph” opening at Turner Carroll Gallery on December 1.
Sbarge allows her subconscious to guide her as she combines human and animal forms and creates hybrid characters open to multiple meanings and interpretations.
“I don’t want anything to look too clear or obvious,” Sbarge adds. “I want people to find their own meanings in my work.”
Birds of flight have been a recurring image in Sbarge’s paintings. Her latest images also feature the giraffe, ostrich, leopard, elk and other critters. The accordion, an instrument Sbarge enjoys playing, appears in several of her works.
Sbarge starts with an underpainting of acrylics before applying collage papers and oil paint on top of the collage. “The juxtaposition of paint and collage gives a sense of altered vision,” she explains. “The ‘collaged state of mind,’ the dialogue between the real and the surreal, is what I look for.”
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Sbarge has lived in Albuquerque since 1989. She earned her bachelor’s degree in art history and studio arts from Barnard College in New York and her master’s degree in art education from the University of New Mexico.
She also has studied studio arts throughout the U.S. and abroad at institutions and art centers including L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Toulouse, France, The Art Students’ League in New York City and the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.
Sbarge balances her studio time with her full time day job as the founder and executive director of 516 ARTS in Albuquerque, an independent, nonprofit, contemporary art organization operating a museum-style gallery in downtown Albuquerque.
“I find the art-making process to be meditative and a great release from daily activities,” she says. “When I’m in the studio, I have fun. I feel like a kid playing.”