Susan Grabel

faces of alienation

In 1990, Grabel began a series on Alienation—clay portrait reliefs set in boxes imprisoned by grates, screens and wood slats, isolated, defended and trapped, showing how the safe place we create for ourselves becomes our prison as well as our sanctuary. At the time she was involved with Project Hospitality, a Staten Island organization working with homeless people, and saw in the community’s negative responses to the homeless, how narrowly we define our self-interest. She began to use old wood because it has its own story and lends another layer of narrative to the work.

In And What About the Children?, it’s the children who are trapped, peering out from behind barriers of poverty and the debris of war. Grabel says, “Our representatives in Washington give lip service to family values and then slash programs for education, Head Start, school lunches, Aid to Dependent Children, earned income tax credit. And What About the Children? Children have been caught up in wars in places like Rwanda, Bosnia , Iraq and Syria. Hundreds of thousands of people have been murdered, families destroyed or in exile And What About the Children?”

Patricia

Patricia

1993,

clay, wood,

h20 w18 d9 inches

Emil

Emil

1992,

clay, wood,

h15 w14¾ d7 inches

Rachael

Rachael

1992,

clay, wood,

h17¾ w14 d7½ inches

And What About the Children?

And What About the Children?

1995,

clay, wood,

h32 w60 d7 inches

And What About the Children? #1

And What About the Children? detail #1

1994,

clay, wood,

h14 w14 d4½ inches

And What About the Children? #2

And What About the Children? detail #2

1994,

clay, wood,

h14 w15 d6 inches

And What About the Children? #5

And What About the Children? detail #5

1994,

clay, wood,

h17 w12 d5 inches

Bella

Bella

1990,

clay, wood,

h18½ w16½ d8 inches

Sita

Sita

1996,

clay, wood,

h18 w14 d9 inches

Zelda

Zelda

1990,

clay, wood,

h15 w13 d9 inches

Emma

Emma

1990,

clay, wood,

h17 w15 d7 inches

Sita

Matt

1992,

clay, wood,

h17¾ w20 d9 inches

Florinda

Florinda

1994,

clay, wood, silk vines,

h20 w16 d9½ inches

Dirge for 29th Street (detail)

Dirge for 29th Street (detail)

1993,

clay, wood

Dirge for 29th Street (detail)

Dirge for 29th Street (detail)

1993,

clay, wood

Dirge for 29th Street

Dirge for 29th Street

1993,

clay, wood,

h15¾ w70 d7¼ inches

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