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Susan Ossman / In the Wash / Studio Visit

In the Wash

Susan Ossman

Studio Visit

Riverside, CA

Susan Ossman discusses her In the Wash series of artworks and her larger anthropological project, depicting laundry drying in the open air.

Her paintings often stretch across multiple canvases, like sheets strung on clotheslines, suggesting how art can capture invisible movements: of the wind, or bring to mind the generations of unnamed women whose hands pinned freshly washed linens to clotheslines. Celebrating a practice that has faded or been marginalized in the USA , she invites contemplation on ecology, invisible labor and lost forms of sociability. It also conjures parallels between old ways of life and the ancient art of painting. “Christo’s Laundry” uses classical oil painting techniques to evoke the gentle swaying of cloth on a still spring day. Visible brush strokes shape the wind-twisted folds of “Winter Wash”. “Caught in the Sheets” turns laundry into an exuberant field of summer color. These diverse styles and palettes encourage reflection on the interplay of style and signature in an artist’s work and identity. Her paintings have inspired over 100 artists and scholars to collaborate in “On the Line,” a program of exhibitions, performances, and participatory artworks in Riverside, California from 2012 through 2016.

Videography & Editing by L.A. Art Documents

Jason Jenn & Vojislav Radovanovic

Script by Genie Davis

Additional material from past collaborations:

Performance Art: Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein

Choreography: Casey Auvant, Sue Roginski

Dancers: Samantha Carlson, Val Carnahan, Rebekah JoAnn Guerra, Erica Johnson, Rebekah Johnson, Kylie Kruger,Valerie Mendez,Tracy Tom-Hoon

Filming: Albert Fetter,Rashaun Richardson

Music: “Divine Life Society” by Jesse Gallagher

This work was made possible thanks to the support of The National Endowment of the Arts, Brandstater Gallery, La Sierra University, The University of California Institute for the Arts, The Center of Ideas and Society, University of California Riverside. The Riverside Arts Council and Riverside Public Libraries.


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