Susan Grabel

homeless in the land of plenty

Her next series in clay and mixed media was on homelessness. We usually ignore homeless people; we pass them by as if they were invisible. They represent the failures of our society and we don’t want to deal with them. Using clay and wood in narrative sculptural environments, Grabel captures the desolation and humanity of the homeless, living on the edge of society, surviving as best they can on the streets.

In this work, Grabel reflects on the urban environment: a place where on one block you’ll see boarded up buildings and the next, stretch limos. Commuting to Manhattan to her day job as a computer programmer and systems analyst in the early 1980’s she saw, daily, a homeless man in tattered dirty clothes huddled against a building next to an elegant store window.

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time

1989,

clay, wood, burlap,

h72 w48 d14 inches

Once Upon a Time

Address Unknown

1989,

clay, wood,

h19 w48 d24 inches

Once I Built a Railroad

Once I Built a Railroad

1988,

clay, wood,

h27 w18½ d20 inches

Discards

Discards

1988,

clay,

h12 w22 d8 inches

The Other Side of Christmas

The Other Side of Christmas

1987,

clay, branches, burlap, tinsel, twine,

h74 w48 d48 inches

Shelter

Shelter

1990,

clay, mixed media,

h38 w33 d37½ inches

Garbage Day

Garbage Day

1990,

clay,

h12 w22 d8 inches

City Streets #1: Man in Sleeping Bag

City Streets #1: Man in Sleeping Bag

1985,

clay, wood,

h28 w37 d24 inches

City Streets #2

City Streets #2

1987,

clay, wood,

h28 w36 d24 inches

City Streets #3

City Streets #3

1987,

clay, wood,

h17 w36 d29 inches

Social Security

Social Security

1983,

clay, wood,

h11½ w45 d12 inches

City Environment #2: The Bag Lady

City Environment #2: The Bag Lady

1983,

clay,

h17 w41 d41 inches