Grab some face time
Actually, this exhibition make the term “LGBQT+ community” seem rather reductive, because Susanne Strassman has really teased out the uniqueness of each sitter. They are individuals rather than part of one homogeneous blob. And the rare informality of these works is surely down to the manner in which they were painted.
Over a one-week period the Globe Gallery was transformed into a working artist’s studio with the live painting occurring in the front of the gallery, which faces onto the busy Pilgrim Street. The intention was to share the painting process in an accessible way with the general public. Passers-by viewed the subjects as they shared their story in the same moment and context as the artist, all against the backdrop of the city they call home. The way the models dressed or looked was not important; they were free to pose and dress themselves as they pleased. In this way the exhibition focuses on the sitters and Strassmann as public performers, creating a dialogue in front of a passing public and developing a connection and awareness of each other through an interchange of spoken and embodied trust.
An oral history – with the sitters reflecting on their experience and life in the city – also makes up a sound installation, which overlays Strassmann’s work.
Susanne Strassman: Encounters, 30 March-18 May, The Globe Gallery, 47 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle. globegallery.org