Scholarly biography and interests
Suzanne Hutchinson is a multidisciplinary artist who explores themes of remembered landscapes, places, people, histories, encounters, and sensations through installations, paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures and projected image with performance. The work embraces reflections on fragments of autobiographical or collective histories, observations of people and bodies, and landscapes.
Suzanne’s artworks have been exhibited in national museums, galleries, theatres and festivals since 1982. Her art practice combines independent projects with collaborative work with composers, sculptors, performers, writers, actors and choreographers producing installations and visual performances for theatre and performance spaces but also for specific sites. Since 1998 her roles in these projects include co-creator, director, art director, designer/maker and installation artist. Projects have been publically presented in varied venues in England, Scotland and Australia.
A recent collaborative project with actor and writer Tony Haase formed the 2013 Brighton Festival performance, The Day the Fairydust Landed, combining script, live performance and sequences of drawings for screen. Hutchinson’s role as director and script / image editor throughout the making process forms part of Hutchinson’s current exploration of the interplay between pictorial representations and the present physical experience, when recollecting past experience or narratives.
Art Practice and Research
Suzanne Hutchinson’s artworks employ varied forms to investigate the ways in which the process of memory, presence, absence, loss and death can be marked, commemorated, mapped and documented. By combining image, object and space to mark a remembering, Hutchinson aims to create spaces of contemplation, places of slowed time, where repair, change or transformation can occur.
Hutchinson’s interest in the ways the visual and physical experience of an artwork creates meaning has resulted in her use of varied materials and construction processes. The permanence of Hutchinson’s painted surfaces is in contrast to her use of ephemeral materials in her floor based installation works.
Hutchinson has constructed physically immersive environments where repetition, endurance and the duration of performative actions are part of the artwork’s making process. Her interest in embodiment is explored through the interplay of two dimensional pictorial space, three dimensional object and physical encounter.
Hutchinson explores the position and function of documentation material of time based work within artistic practice and has organised and engaged in research discussion forums with fellow arts practitioners on her own and others art practice. Subject areas examined include, public and private memorials, the ephemeral and the permanent, construction and deconstruction as ritual devotional action, presence and embodiment and repetition as a strategy of transformation.
Suzanne's research process and findings are disseminated through exhibitions, performances and presentation events in which written papers, films, drawings and photographic material is structured and discussed. She has presented work at research events on the areas of Memories, Narratives and Histories, Maps and Memories, Death and Memory, Time, Space and Energy and the Archeology of People and Place.
Large scale community based projects have included the creation of, site-specific performance installation works presented, in a fort and in the landscape as a lead artist with Glyndebourne Education team, in a bus depot as a Northlands festival artist and in a prison chapel as a lead artist on projects with the Unit of Arts and Offenders. Work undertaken on these projects include: making artworks and installations, devising collaborative processes and structures to facilitate community groups to make artworks together, devising collaborative procedures for professional performers and community groups to work together, direction of performances, exhibitions and installation works.
Suzanne Hutchinson has exhibited paintings, drawings, collages and sculptures in numerous solo and group exhibitions presenting work in private and public galleries including Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, The Hayward Gallery, The Royal Festival Hall, The Barbican, The Crafts Council Gallery, Nicola Jacobs Gallery, Fabian Carlsson Gallery and Atlantis Gallery. Early in her career she combined her arts practice with work as a designer for national touring dance, music and theatre company productions.
Her work has been recognised through awards and funding including,
- The Student Union Excellence Awards, Achievement Award, University of Brighton (2012)
- The Chairman's Student support Award, University of Brighton (2001)
- Glyndebourne Education funding for the artist book, Walking the Downs, Archaeology of the Imagination, (2000)
- Glyndebourne Education Team, supported by South East Arts, East Sussex County Council and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for, Walking the Downs, research project, over three years working with varied community groups (1998 – 2000)
- South East Arts, Direct Support Grant for, Lure, solo exhibition at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery (1997)
- Arts Council funded set and costume design for various national touring companies (1981- 1989)
- South East Arts funding, Artist in Schools, residencies (1993, 1992, 1990, 1984)
- Jacob Mendelson Scholarship award for the solo exhibition, Suzanne Hutchinson Paintings and Drawings, Brighton Polytechnic Gallery.
Hutchinson’s Higher Education undergraduate teaching experience in Fine Art and Performance began in 1988 while her M.A. Fine Art and postgraduate course experience began in 1992. Prior to this Hutchinson had taught extensively as a visiting tutor in Further Education on Art and Design Foundation courses and Higher National Diploma courses.
As an educator Suzanne’s teaching specialisms are both within the Fine Art subject area and on the intersection of Fine Art and Performance practices. She has initiated, written, developed, led and taught modules in drawing and expanded sculpture, exhibition practices, installation art practices, screen and live performance work, site-specific practices and the documentation of time based work. She has developed the practice of durational performance installation work and drawing and sculpture in relationship to the body within course modules. Questions of rhythm and gesture, permanence and the ephemeral, presence and embodiment, duration and stillness, the body and physicality, ritual and transformation and process and product are central to Hutchinson’s teaching practice, as they are to her own art practice.
Hutchinson has also led innovative initiatives in professional development within both visual art and performance.
Hutchinson’s teaching includes professional practice areas, for example, Suzanne Hutchinson In conversation with Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes), (2013), provided undergraduate students with the opportunity to learn about Khan’s visual and music development process when creating her award-winning albums but also enabled students to benefit from Khan’s global experience as a performer, songwriter and producer within the popular music industry.
As part of Suzanne’s teaching practice she has coordinated and curated numerous group exhibitions of both undergraduate and postgraduate work. She was recognized for her development of the 2nd Year public exhibition of undergraduate student work as the 2001 recipient of the University Chairman’s Award for student support.
She has extensive Year 2 and Year 3 Tutor and Coordinator experience and course leadership experience. Suzanne has also mentored arts graduates and emerging artists in the development of commissions and proposals of work for public exhibition, and dissemination.
In 2012 Hutchinson was recipient of the Brighton Student Union Excellence Award, Achievement award for her teaching work.