October 26, 2013 in Washington Voices

The Verve: Webbers’ art work often goes against the grain

Jennifer Larue
 
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

Susan and Troy Webber’s paintings are inspired by graphic novels and contain the exaggerated: the good, the bad, and everything in between.
(Full-size photo)

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In December, the Webbers’ art will be featured at Brooklyn Deli and Lounge, 122 S. Monroe St. You can find their art page “Destroy Susan” on Facebook.

Art quote of the week

“In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.”

Ernst Fischer (1899-1972), writer

There are females and males, exposed. There are branches and leaves, wings, skulls, bones, guns and dark images mixed with light.

It is all the world has to offer, unfiltered and exaggerated with hints of sarcasm. Not meant to be taken literally, the works are the extensions of artists Troy and Susan Webber, whose philosophies are to go against the grain, to not live life in fear, and to maintain their individuality in a world where so many refuse to stray from the paved path.

Some of their paintings might offend, but that does not stop them. “In my work, there are hints of religion, sex, violence and pain,” Troy said. “But that is a part of life.”

Susan concurs. “I once did a piece of a pregnant woman with a goat’s head and some people were horrified. I was simply studying animal parenting at the time,” she said.

“I think that looking at a painting is like dissecting a dream,” she said. “If you dreamt of eating a rat, it obviously does not mean you want to eat a rat. What does a rat represent to you? Fear? Maybe you need to get over your fears. That is a much different meaning. So, when you look at a piece of art and feel uncomfortable and it seems taboo to you, keep looking.”

The couple began their lives miles apart; she was born in Seoul, South Korea, and he in North Dakota. They both grew up in Spokane and eventually crossed paths in a water coloring class and while working together at the Elk Public House. They shared an art studio for a while and fell in love. They’ve been married for seven years and have three children, all who were born in the comfort of their own home.

Walking into their home near the South Perry District, it is apparent that art is also born here; paintings done directly on the walls and on canvas and wood adorn the main living area. Even the light-colored couch has been painted with swirling tentacles. Some of the works are by Susan, some by Troy, and others are compilation paintings mixing their styles and ideas. They are philosophers in a sense, recording their findings visually.

“Painting feels like my primordial self coming out, or tapping into it, observing, processing, recording, and trying to make sense of what’s around me,” Troy said. Like the drawings that artists or communicators put on caves long ago, their images give meaning to the true nature of the times.

Susan paints bones, flowers, animals and women; and Troy often captures the battle between man and nature. They, along with their children, have no fear of leaving the convenience of a well-tended or paved path; the weeds, snarled branches, large rocks, and other potential hazards simply add to the excitement of living a life without fear.


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