Susan Okla

Susan Okla creates visceral and quasi-narrative images that explore, dissect, and raise questions about trauma, sexuality, memory, and pain. Her work examines the multifaceted nature of desire, fear, repulsion, anger, and corporeality in numerous forms. Tension by way of absurd juxtaposition is used as a means of ironic and subversive deconstruction. Okla uses the physical body as an analog to the trappings and vulnerabilities of the emotional and psychological self: just as physical wounds are opened, drained, expressed, sutured, scarred, or infected, so too are emotional wounds. Rife with symbolic and referential imagery, her collage-drawings are amalgamations of found, referenced, and borrowed source materials. The collaging and layering of her imagery echoes the amorphous and nonlinear nature of memory as it is excavated through the process of psychoanalysis.

For Okla, art-making echoes this same process: a means of working through subconscious terror while re-experiencing the magic of childhood. By mining mythology, physiology, and the indomitable power of symbolism and storytelling, her work examines the false dichotomy of childhood and adulthood and the nebulous overlap of human and animal.