Susan Grabel’s figurative sculpture in mixed media on social and political themes has been exhibited in solo and group shows at galleries, universities and museums across the country including The Staten Island Museum, SI, NY, Denise Bibro Galley, NYC, Ceres, NYC, Soho20 Chelsea, NYC, Prince Street Gallery, NYC, Monmouth Museum, NJ, Dartmouth College, NH, Pratt Institute Gallery, NYC, Artists Choice Museum, NYC, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, MI, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, SI. Her awards include six grants from the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island, a Jentel Artist Residency in Wyoming and sculpture commissions for the Women’s Health Center at Staten Island University Hospital and the Staten Island Children’s Museum. She has been active in artist organizations and was President of the NY chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art, National Treasurer and exhibition coordinator for the three of the recent Staten Island Creative Community’s Art by the Ferry Festivals.
Susan Grabel’s work deals with the human dimensions of social issues. She is interested in what people see and even more in what they don’t want to see.
In the late 1990’s, Grabel became particularly concerned about the lack of positive images of older women in our youth-oriented culture and how the media constantly bombards women of all ages with images of femaleness that bear no relation to what they see in the mirror. She began to explore the reality of the older woman’s body and our fears about aging, again bringing to the fore what we don’t want to see. The body is not idealized, but shown as it is, with all its wrinkles, lumps and bumps, imprinted with life’s experiences, its pains and joys.
Through classical references and the use of handmade cast paper with its rich textures, colors and lightness and collagraph prints and collages, Grabel shows the beauty of the aging woman’s body as well as its sensuality and grace. She normalizes it, validating women’s experiences of themselves. and confronting the conventional bias against the aging woman’s body.