Visiting artist brings texture to university gallery

The University Art Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of Susan Moran’s mixed media work, which runs until Monday, Nov. 4.

On Thursday, Oct. 24, Moran talked about her work, then stayed for a reception with attendees.

Moran is a mixed media artist who focuses on the natural world, using textiles to portray her versions of what she sees in nature and in life.

She received her master in fine arts in textiles from the University of Michigan and currently resides and educates in Ann Arbor. In her lecture, Moran talked about how her draw to textiles was the texture they bring to art.

“I’m very interested in pattern and combinations of patterns, and textiles to me are kind of the perfect blend of materials to work with,” Moran said. “They’re very commonplace, but because of that they have this immediacy about them, this comfort to them, that makes them accessible to people.”

Another consideration Moran had was the way textiles are used for ceremonial and special purposes. She mentioned how adaptable textiles are and the variety there are in each type. Moran related her interest in textiles to her family background. Growing up, she was surrounded by people who fixed things instead of throwing them away.

“I grew up in a family that made a lot of things and fixed a lot of things,” Moran said. “That whole idea of not throwing things away but finding a way to reuse them and make them not only workable again but possibly beautiful is very important to me.”

Students learned about a different art form that they hadn’t known about before. Kennedy Lints, a psychology sophomore, attended and thought the detail was interesting.

“It’s crazy how many layers you can put on to one piece of art,” Lints said.

Moran hand stitches some of her works, but she also embroiders, bleaches, uses silk screen printing and sometimes draws on paper with textiles pasted in conjunction. Her pieces in the gallery depict various features of nature she has seen while walking her dog or exploring the outdoors.

“I like to spend a lot of time outdoors, and in particular observing things up close,” Moran said. “I do a lot of photographing, and that will later come into designs for artwork.”

The art has texture and stands off the wall in many ways. All the pieces in the exhibition are either made from textiles or have pieces of textiles on them.

Moran discussed how the fabric influences the final product.

“The surface will contribute a lot to your work because the surface interacts with the color,” Moran said. “If it has texture, if it’s transparent, if it’s a loose coarse weave, if it’s fluffy, all of those things are going to influence your image.”

Melissa Vennix
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