Susan Wink

For twenty years I have been designing and constructing permanent site-specific public art. I create sculptural forms and situations inspired by the natural surroundings of a particular location and other historic, cultural, and environmental phenomenon unique to the area. The installations are realized through the use of mediums such as custom ceramic tile, steel, stone, concrete and various landscaping materials.  These unique components are integrated into the sculptural environment and function as a means of storytelling on both a visual and experiential level. The physicality of the space is important to the overall design and intention of my work. Many of the installations have functional components such as sculptural seating, canopies, custom hand rail and operating gardens. The alignment of the art work in the landscape is also integral to the design as the dynamics of shadow play throughout the seasons connects the installation to the earth and sky.
 
Many of the public art projects I have completed are community-based. With these projects I involve members of the local community in the design process either with hands-on tile making or I interpret their ideas through their writing samples and drawings.  A community-based sculpture I designed, built and installed in 2008 for the Roswell Public Library in Roswell, New Mexico -  entitled, Tree of Knowledge, involved residents of the City of Roswell in the creation of over 2,800 inscribed word tiles for an 18-foot-high concrete, steel and mosaic sculptural tree. Hundreds of multi-generational members of the community participated in free tile making sessions held at the library and other venues in the city. The community involvement in the project reflects the library’s non-discrimination policy and gave local citizens a creative outlet for commemorating their favorite books, authors, poets and words.
 
I am currently finishing a five year community-based project for the City of Roswell, NM - entitled, “Remembering Roswell”. The project has involved the renovation of Reischman Park located downtown on Main Street. I designed the new infrastructure in collaboration with the City Engineering Department and colleague Terry Rhodes. The features include a new stage, custom tree planter seating, benches, decorative handrail and brick entry columns with lights and fabricated steel arches. A major component of the art installation is the custom handmade tile made by hundreds of people of all ages during free tile workshops.  Each tile has been painted to tell a unique story about Roswell.  Images from the Historic Society archives have informed the design along with memorabilia gathered from local citizens. 
 
To successfully complete my public art projects I seek and find the best technical assistance.  I work with talented engineers, architects, artists, masons, welders, and city and state administrators. I have served on design teams for the City of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and the Tucson Public Art Program’s Modern Street Car project.  I believe the key to creating meaningful public art hinges on the ability to listen, significant research, great technical support, and a meaningful and productive collaboration with the community. These elements combined with a bold aesthetic statement insure a dynamic and enduring art installation.
 
A constant in both my public sculpture and private studio practice has been the exploration of creative expression through ceramic tile. I am continuously fascinated by the ceramic medium, the process of making and clay’s depth and resonance once fired. The tile format provides a more intimate scale for narrative themed work.  I design art work for tile that uses both common and complex visual images and text as a symbolic language enhanced by drawing, color, pattern and texture.