susan venema

Extreme Creativity has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone, to explore my artistic capacity, and to engage with others in a collaborative setting.  Most importantly, it has taught me that creativity (as well as art) comes from within and has no limitations.

~~ Susan Venema

Susan Venema

"What is Identity?  This was one of the foremost topics we discussed as a class.  Indeed identity can be defined as a recognizable appearance.  It is also our personality and what sets us apart from others.  Primarily, I think I learned that identity is falsified through portraiture because it creates a mask.  As Myra Greene stated, 'pictures do not speak the truth.'  Therefore, I found the relationship between portraiture and identity to be interestingly intertwined.  Portraiture represents a person, but does it provide a realistic portrayal?  I think discussing this question as a class helped me determine what I consider identity to be: a culmination of many different things.  Identities are too multi-faceted too ever be fully represented in portraits.  As a creative piece, a portrait tries to capture the essence of an individual.  I remember the first day I walked into the Samek Gallery for lecture and saw Timothy Green-Field Sanders portraits.  Taken back by their 'larger than life' presence, all of them made quite a big impression.  

I began to wonder if the self-portraits I submitted at the very beginning of the course had a similar impact on my audience. I found the portrait submission process to be a difficult task because I felt none of my photos fully defined my essence.  Together they provided a more cohesive understanding of who I was, however they still did not fully define me.  Therefore, I agree with Myra in the sense that no one can ever be completely defined by portraiture.  And while photos give a great glimpse into people’s identities, only our physical ‘self’ provides the best representation of who we are.  Therefore, our class experimented with masks to gain further knowledge on how identities can be construed and concealed. Thus, for our final project, we used our own unique identities as well as our masking costumes to create an interpretational experience for our audience members."

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