Editor's note: The Pensacola Museum of Art provided source material to Resource Library Magazine for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Pensacola Museum of Art directly through either this phone number or web address:


The Cutting Edge: Life Size Cut-Outs From the Old Masters


Have you ever wished you could step into a painting by Chagall or Picasso? What would it be like if the characters in from a Manet or the flowers from a Van Gogh suddenly came to life? Artist Susan Sills gives you that chance in her latest exhibition The Cutting Edge: Life Size Cut-Outs From the Old Masters at the Pensacola Museum of Art February 13 - April 3, 2004. (right: Susan Sills The Cutting Edge: Life Size Cut Outs from the Old Masters)

The idea of freestanding two-dimensional sculpture had its origins in the 1960's when artists such as pop artists Red Grooms and Alex Katz looked to form a bridge between painting and sculpture. But it was not until 1986 when the Whitney Museum held an exhibition entitled "Contemporary Cutouts" that the medium began to attract critical attention.

New York artist Susan Sills began creating her two dimensional cutouts of birchwood and oil paints in the mid 1980's. Yet, unlike other artists, Sills takes her art form one step further by combining her cutouts with everyday real life found objects like a rug, a teapot, or a happy meal box thereby creating not only a sculpture but also an installation. (left: Susan Sills, Utamaro, Utamaro, I'll See You Utamaro, oil on wood cutout)

Humor is also a big part of Sills's work as seen in a title of one of her works "Utamaro, Utamaro, I'll See Utamaro," which is based on a work by Utamaro Kitagawa, a Japanese painter of the late 18th Century. In this work, figures are combined with "the cardboard box from a Happy Meal and other McDonald's detritus scattered on a tatami mat in front of two 18th century geishas. Why in the multi-culti, pluralistic realm of postmodern art, should working girls have to settle for only sushi?" writes Ed McCormack of Gallery & Studio in a 2002 article about Sills's work.

McCormack finishes his article by commenting ". . . Susan Sills brings exalted subjects down to earth. In doing so, she makes us vividly aware of the simple human, and sometimes even humorous, origins of great art." And so she does throughout The Cutting Edge: Life Size Cut Outs from the Old Masters with 26 works with titles such as "Van Gone (Van Gogh)" and "Voulez-Vous Un Chapeau, Monsiuer Gaugin" (Would you like a Hat, Mr. Gaugin). Sills takes us on a journey through art history with wit and humor. (right: Susan Sills, Voulez-vous un Chapeau, M. Gauguin?, oil on wood cut out)

This exhibition is organized by the Pensacola Museum of Art in collaboration with Susan Sills.


Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Pensacola Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 2004 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

Copyright 2012 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.