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Susan Silton at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Susan Silton We Are Seeing It Differently, You And I, 2020 Photo Intaglio Print.

In her latest body of work, Silton questions the nature of reality versus appearances. WE is a set of sixteen photo-etchings depicting scenic landscapes of the Armstrong Redwoods National Forest. The prints are divided into pairs of images that, at first glance, appear almost identical. However, the images have been slightly modified from one another, exposing the stark differences of individual perception.
Further complicating the viewer’s perception is the accompanying text. Under the parallel images are variations of the phrase, “WE SEE IT DIFFERENTLY, YOU AND I.” The phrase is conjugated in all sixteen verb tenses of the English language – past,present and future – exposing how time plays a crucial role within this dichotomy. As Silton expresses, “Difference is guided by both object and subject, by conditions, by temporality. This same tree looks different on different occasions, and for various reasons, not the least of which is that I’m looking at it and you are looking at it, and we are different.”

Silton’s etchings are accompanied by an original short story by the award-winning writer Dana Johnson, which moves, dreamlike, between time and place as it relates interactions between two white women and a black boyfriend. As in Silton’s etchings, “we,” “us,” and “they” take on differing, nuanced tones as the narrative progresses, and together, the layering of these elements invokes complex and previously unobserved associations about where we intersect and where we adamantly differ.

Susan Silton’s interdisciplinary projects engage multiple aesthetic strategies to mine the complexities of subjectivity and subject positions, often through poetic combinations of humor, discomfort, subterfuge and unabashed beauty. Silton’s work takes form in performative and participatory-based projects, photography, video, installation, text/audio works, and print-based projects, and presents in diverse contexts such as public sites, social network platforms, and traditional galleries and institutions.

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