Monday, October 4, 2010

Sacred Flesh Opening, Part I

Susan enjoying herself tremendously during the talk.  Photo by Susan Hribernik

  The Opening for Sacred Flesh was absolutely wonderful!

photo by Susan Hribernik
Around 5:10 people started arriving for the Artist's Talk which I began at 5:30.  It was wonderfully gratifying to see so many familiar faces there as well as people I didn't know but who had received a card from the gallery and were interested in it.

photo by Lara O'Connor

I spoke for about 20 minutes about my intentions, the project, how I work, why I do what I do, then a couple of the models, Frances Wessells and Lara O'Connor, spoke about their experiences modelling for me, then folks asked questions. 

Here's the link to the first part of the talk which Lara O'Connor filmed - thanks, Lara! - link to Susan's Artist's Talk

Susan and Frances Wessells, photo by Susan Hribernik
photo by  Lara O'Connor
After the talk, folks hung around for a little bit looking at the paintings and reading the texts.  I was so glad to see them lingering in front of the paintings, reading what the models had written.  Many people commented to me how much richer that made things.  Thank you, models, for taking the time to give viewers such a gift!

Lara O'Connor and Susan, photo by Susan Hribernik
There was a lull in the crowd around 6:30 for about 15 minutes then things picked up and didn't stop until 10 when people were still trying to come in!  Anne estimated that we had over 1200 people come through.  That's a lot of people!  Lots of people I knew, but many more that I didn't - students from VCU, middle-aged couples out for an evening of art, people out for a good time, groups of teenagers wanting to see what was up.

There were several incidents that moved me.  At one point I saw a group of 6-8 teenagers clumped together in the middle of the room gesturing and smirking and laughing uncomfortably.  Those are the kinds of groups I love to talk to.  I went up to them and said, "I wonder what you're thinking about the art or if you have any questions?"  One girl, who seemed to be the spokeswoman, asked me why I paint naked women.  I looked her in the eye and said, "I don't like the way the media portrays women and how they make me feel about my body, so I paint gorgeous women who don't look like Playboy models so everyone get start to see that beauty goes way beyond those images."  She looked at me, appraising what I'd said, and nodded slowly.  I looked at the other kids.  One young man said, "That sounds about right to me."  "Yeah, that's cool."  They asked some other questions and seemed genuinely interested at that point.  I find it wonderful to talk to kids and address their discomfort by giving them helpful information.  As Chris observed, I was in teacher mode. 

At that moment, someone tapped me on my shoulder.  I was rather shocked when I turned around and had to look up to be able to see my son, Dylan, bowing and flourishing a rose!  He and four of his friends had rented a Zip Car in Williamsburg so they could come to the Opening.  It was one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me.  It was terrific to see him and to see/meet his friends from W&M and from Maggie Walker.  So incredibly nice of them to come.  That was certainly one of the highlights of my evening in a night full of wonderful events!

The photos in this blog are by Lara O'Connor and Susan Hribernik who were generous enough to take them then send them to me.  Thank you both so much!


  1. Très chère Susan,
    Je suis remplie d'émotion en lisant votre page aujourd'hui... Je vous félicite pour votre succès bien mérité... J'aurais aimé moi aussi répondre présente à ce vernissage... malheureusement j'habite un peu loin! J'aimerais seulement qu'une fois nous puissions nous rencontrer...
    J'aime l'ensemble de vos peintures et la belle âme que vous donnez à ces corps...
    Moi qui n'aime pas beaucoup le mien, abîmé par plusieurs chirurgies, j'aime la beauté que vous leur rendez...
    Je peins de jeunes femmes, belles à voir, mais peut-être tout simplement parce qu'elles ont quelques souffrances à cacher...
    Je vous embrasse et j'embrasse votre fils qui vous a donné tout son amour en ce jour.

  2. Martine,
    Merci beaucoup! J'espere que je peux ecrire toujours en francais!

    Ou vivez vous? Nous allons venir en France l'annee que vien - a Paris, je pense. Peut etre nous puissions nous rencontrer la bas!


  3. Très chère Susan,
    Je viens de visualiser vos deux dernières pages de votre blog... Je vous félicite à nouveau. C'est très impressionnant le travail que vous avez fait... Des dimensions de toiles vraiment importantes...
    J'habite dans une très jolie petite ville près de Saint-Etienne dans la Loire. Saint-Etienne se situe à 60 km de Lyon (environ 45 minutes en voiture). De temps en temps, je me rends à Paris.
    Ce serait formidable de nous rencontrer, peut-être pourriez-vous venir jusqu'à Lyon ?
    Dans l'attente de vous lire, je vous embrasse.
    ps: Très joli autoportrait.