Andrea Senutovitch is essentially an assemblage artist. She seeks materials that contain what she calls “haunted objects,” as they possess “soul.” Taking disparate items such as clocks, baling wire, wheels, combs, skulls, typewriter keys, handbags, bottles, birdcages and models of sailing vessels, to name but a few, Senutovitch creates collages that are amazing and dramatic. Her work is magical, mysterious and beautiful, yet disturbing at times. Senutovitch says, “There is a secret language spoken when the objects are assembled in particular ways that retell the archeology of their travels.”
I have two important mentors—Laura Stanziola and Cornelia Parker. I observe Laura exploring darkness and light; she is endlessly questioning reality, duality, and the mystery of existence. Laura is somewhat reclusive—I feel safe in her world. I can drown in our conversations when we speak of the wormholes of creativity, the ultimate nothingness. She is fascinated by the process of birth and disintegration, the gradual letting go of life and form and how it morphs into something else, a presence equally real, but with the soul being carried forth into a visual anthology of chatter. Cornelia Parker’s work is much the same to me. It is about making something out of nothingness. It is about loss and subtraction from breath. Her pieces made from burned wood, hanging in a grid, take my breath away. There is something about seeing the residual corpse of what was once a building turned into black embers of form and knowing that the voices they carry in each subtlety of crackle will really never go away.
Something Out of Nothingness
A thought holds the weight of consciousness and question. Questioning nothingness gives it form. One big circle of confusion. My pieces begin with a thought, the thought turns to form, the form molds in my hand and is placed, drawn, distorted, made beautiful, and is birthed. My art has been the perfect disguise for me, each piece a mask. The mask distracts one from really getting to know me; I’m guarded that way—too sensitive for my own good. It makes me want to scream aloud. I choose to shout out in the form of creativity, be it in writing, the form of sculpture, collage, in photographs, or with video.
Art As A Safe Place
I have yet to find a safe place. There are always intruders. At home it’s the mail or the phone, which I hate answering, or the dog barking next door. My ultimate studio would be a box floating in the air, soundproofed with tiny vents along the top rim for breathing and maybe the sound of music coming in through the walls. My view would be a color, maybe blue, and there would be a single chair to sit on, preferably an antique. Just a moment of suspension, of aloneness is my dream. Art to me is an escape, a reflection, a private conversation made public. The minute it’s birthed it becomes vulnerable.
The New Work
There are many new pieces being made in my head. I am working on a series of masks and crowns. On the outside they are assemblages of beauty. However, the insides of the pieces are a different matter. If the outside of my work is beautiful, then there is a darker side to its inner world. I express that darkness in words that are hidden somewhere on the inside surface, be it whether rolled as a scroll or written in another language. Only the viewer can see the message, or not. Once the mask or crown is put on, the secret is hidden. The piece looks beautiful, but the presence is loaded. It becomes a fog world, distorted, hazy, a bit out of focus. Using words feels incriminating to me, it adds an uncomfortable honesty. My writing can’t help but expose the personal within, of a woman affected by a life of depression, of the stubbornness and trust in overcoming it on a daily basis, of clinging to beauty as an aphrodisiac, and defining what it means to me, which is then open to interpretation and so on. It is both an intimidating and unknown place to find oneself when creating if one is ultimately shy and private.
I keep the door half open, the mask ajar. Hopefully the work will speak for itself.