ABOUT: SUSAN MCELHINNEY
An alumna of the Maryland Institute, College of Art and the Corcoran School of Art, I first fell in love with sculpture at age 18. That pursuit was sidetracked as my career as a photojournalist prevailed. However, after decades of observing people and the world through a camera I realized that I never ceased being a sculptor. The constant, of defining forms in space with light, was always there.
I presently have four genres in sculpture: portraiture, political commentary, bas-relief nature tiles and figurative work, that provide me with variety, depth and a merging of my varied interests. Clay and castings in bronze are my usual medium.
My portraiture work is primarily done on a commission basis, ranging from heads of children to full figures of adults. I enjoy the process of the sittings, which allow me to interpret in clay the marvelous subtleties of individuals. The intimacy of the sittings give depth not met through the use of photos.
My political commentary work is the expression of my sentiments regarding heroes like President Obama, Lewis and Malala to ordinary persons living heroic and tragic lives to my scathing satiric pieces of Donald Trump. I am a political junkie—because I live within the beltway, or in spite of it?
The tile work emerges from my love of nature, rendered in high bas-relief interpretations of birds, insects, plants, frogs and fish. In large part they are executed on a commission basis for interior or exterior installation but also as individual pieces that can hang on a wall.
My fourth genre is small, expressive works of the figure. Very personal, it sometimes rubs up against the magical, embodying my perceptions and concerns for the world around us, from the loss of privacy to individualism in modern society.
As a pet lover, I have found a love in doing portraits of individual animals for fun and commission. I did my first piece as a respone to the loss of my dear “Raven,” a big black lab with a broken heart.