Artist Susan Skarsgard Finds Her Muse in the Alphabet
Many artists must work outside their passion to pay the bills, but there are those who reside contently at the crossroads. That’s Susan Skarsgard. She’s an esteemed graphic designer in the automotive industry who is respected worldwide for her original fine art and work in design and calligraphy.
Her new exhibition, “At the Junction: Industrial Design,” which runs through June 5 at Washtenaw Community College’s Gallery One, follows the long tradition of creating fine art from calligraphy. In it, Skarsgard explores the limits of the alphabetical form with the kind of creative and aesthetically challenging solutions that define her work.
Skarsgard will discuss her work at a reception and lecture on Tuesday, April 21. The reception is from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, and the lecture follows immediately in room 375 of the Crane Liberal Arts and Science building.
“The familiar shapes of the alphabet, taken down to their elemental form and stripped of their meaning, have always been intriguing to me,” Skarsgard said. “Somewhat like arranging the DNA of language and looking at it purely as shape and form.
“I do take seriously the skillful interplay of letters, words, and image as a powerful combination of visual thought,” she said. “Being the holders of this very unique form of artistic, verbal expression, it seems that inquiring how to make our work relevant for today’s world is probably the most important question that we all must ask and answer for ourselves, as we shape the future direction of this art/design form. But here, in this forum, for this round, in this time, I have chosen to just ‘play’ with the DNA.”
Skarsgard received her MFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, and is an artist and designer known internationally for her original fine art works, artist books, design, and calligraphy. As a featured speaker and teacher, she has traveled extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. She currently works at General Motors Design as a design manager involved in publication design, exhibition graphics, and brand identity.
Gallery One is located on the first floor of WCC’s Student Center building. Its hours are Monday and Tuesday from 10:00am to 6:00pm, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00am to 8:00pm, and Friday from 10:00am to noon.