Sue Cavanaugh, installation at the Columbus Museum of Art
B.S. and M.A. from Ohio State
Cavanaugh works by hand with cloth, cord, dye, paint and occasionally wood and wire. Her work has been exhibited in both national and international exhibits at the Columbus Museum of Art, Oceanside Museum of Art, Springfield Museum of Art (Ohio), Ross Museum of Art, Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum of Art, Ohio Craft Museum and Zanesville Museum of Art. Awards include Best of Show, Shibori Cut Loose exhibit, Textile Center, Minneapolis; Ruth Lantz Fiber Award; Janet Long Memorial Award for Excellence in Fiber; Ohio Arts Council Professional Award; and the Lynn Goodwin Borgman Award for Surface Design. In 2012 she was selected by the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Free State of Saxony for an artist residency in Dresden, Germany. She worked in a studio at Geh8 Kunstraum und Ateliers for 80 days, culminating in a two-person exhibit with Rotterdam painter Marielle Buitendijk.
“Conjoined Partnership” is crafted out of two shirts, cut up the back and stitched together to form one shirt with two necks. One has cash with Trump’s face, the other with Putin’s. The Putin side has bear claws, as a way to suggest Russian ties. Cavanaugh suggests that hand holding among world leaders is a new phenomenon.
Cavanaugh re-purposes the iconic white collared shirt to comment on corporate personhood, corporate influence on elections and money as a form of speech. The stitching techniques grew out of many years of working with stitch resist shibori. In addition, this piece is a nod to the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, utilizing a kind of stuffing made of cash (instead of straw) as a way to highlight corporate dependence on money for power. This emphasizes the inhumanness of corporations – in essence, their lack of souls. In an era where political discourse often disintegrates into screaming matches, she wanted to deliver her opinion with humor.
Most known for her work with fiber and installations, Cavanaugh has also created a book of cartoons called “Corporations Are People Like the Emperor’s New Clothes Were Real.” This was a recent endeavor of hers wherein she took up carving linoleum plates to create linoprints - another medium that allows her to communicate her thoughts with a sense of humor. Cavanaugh’s first linoprint is being exhibited in her book, and is titled. “A bridgebuilder, a cockroach and a fencing corporation sing a Mexican Folk song.” It references a border fence, and those who can read music will recognize the first notes of “La Cucaracha.” Cavanaugh plans to transform other cartoons into linoprints for future shows
This work was the beginning of Sue's exploration of Corporations as People and politics in the U.S.