Raft #2, 1998
“I have always loved and been attracted to abstraction in music and art,” Suzanne McClelland has stated. “To take something that you can’t touch, or that is intangible, and put it into a physical reality of some sort.” In pursuit of this end, McClelland’s synesthetic artworks combine linguistic elements with painterly marks to express the embodied experience of language being spoken or heard. Her paintings frequently give form to the unarticulated meanings that accompany words and phrases or explore the deformation and breakdown of communication as it moves from sender to recipient. Like Cy Twombly and Jenny Holzer, McClelland has given writing a central place within her practice. However, she distinguished her artmaking by rooting it specifically in speech’s sonic qualities.