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Arts & Culture

Meet the Artist: Susan Bacik

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Phot by Tom Cogill
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This month, Charlottesville sculptor Susan Bacik shows works created over the past 25 years using found objects. Some of the works will be on display at the Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, while other pieces will be featured at Les Yeux Du Monde. 

Bacik is a master of recycling, creating intriguing sculptures from things she finds in junk shops. 

Using random objects is nothing new for Susan Bacik.  As she looks back on her career, she recalls an early urge to build.

“As a child I would take discarded objects and make time machines and with old burned out radio bulbs and various things – just fantasy play objects.”

Today, she plays with ideas as well – mixing beliefs from Buddhism and Christianity with the works of Shakespeare and the findings of physicists.

“Not that I understand any of it, but I love to read the articles, and I’m just fascinatedand awestruck by what physicists are discovering.  It coincides in some very interesting ways with very old spiritual notions.”

She noted, for example, that atoms are almost entirely empty and emptiness is a central teaching of Buddhism.  Her work, titled Physics Dharma, includes a hand-scrawled message to viewers. “Hey kids – fun fact,” it says, “This art work is 99.9999% empty.”

There is also mystery in her work.  At the center of one piece lies what must surely be a fish bone – something she found on a beach in North Carolina.

“We took it to the aquarium thinking they would look at it and say, ‘Oh of course that’s a bone from a such-and=such fish,’ and they looked at it and said, “We have no idea.”

In some ways she feels her work is like poetry.

“A poet has a whole dictionary of words, and in my studio, I have a whole dictionary of objects.  That’s my vocabulary.  That’s what I have to work with.”

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Sandy Hausman spoke with Bacik about incorporating a wide range of items into her works.
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Bacik discusses some of the themes that emerge from the works on display and describes two of the pieces pictured here.
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Sculptor Susan Bacik describes a work about another powerful transformation described in the New Testament.
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Bacik explains another piece-- a meditation on beauty.
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Stardust is the title of another sculpture made from found objects.

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Bacik describes a work created from tableware.

The show at Second Street Galley in Charlottesville is now open, and will be accompanied by a dance program at noon each Thursday in March. The other part of the show opens at Lez Yeaux Du Monde at 841 Wolf Trap Road on March 13.

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