Susan Fang

Susan Fang was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1985, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended the University of Georgia and the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia where she received her MFA in 2010 and was awarded the Charles Addams Memorial Prize.

“How do you find words for things you have no words for? I am a language orphan. English is the second language that I painstakingly learned, and Mandarin is the first language that has atrophied from neglect and assimilation. Language does not feel natural to me.

For the longest time I described my work using identity construction–there was a comfort in knowing that there were definitions and text to support those words, but it only scratched the surface. Underneath were abstract emotions so vast that I felt untethered. I am young and insecure, but I’m slowly finding the words.

I feel a kinship with an Abstract Expressionism that is, as art historian Kirk Varnedoe puts it: ‘about whispers, innuendos, and confidences exchanged intimately, rather than publicly declared.’ There is a harsh indifference found in nature. I am most self-aware when I’m out in nature, I see the vast landscapes before me and I think about these vast landscapes mimicked within the self. This is what I think of when I think of the sublime, a vastness so great that it creates both fear and attraction because what is vastness but empty space. I think of Rumi: ‘Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence.’

My work examines the emptiness of landscapes, responds to melancholy, and renews moments of clarity.”