Susan Worsham: Bittersweet/Bloodwork

Susan Worsham—Bittersweet/Bloodwork
Exhibition Dates: September 4–October 19, 2012
Gallery Reception: September 13, 5–7 pm

Light Work is pleased to announce the exhibition Bittersweet/Bloodwork, featuring the works of Southern photographer Susan Worsham. The photographs were taken in and around Virginia, where her family has passed but the soil remains rich with memory and metaphor. All together, the photographs and accompaniments in Bittersweet/Bloodwork speak of the poetry of childhood, nature, discovery, love, and loss.

When Susan was just eighteen her brother took his own life after severing his spinal cord in a motorcycle accident. As a young girl she had already lost her father to a heart attack, and finally in 2004, she lost her mother as well. According to Worsham, “Shortly after my mother passed I came across a set of antique veterinary slides. They were some of the most interesting things that I had ever seen. They seemed to hold beauty and death at the same time. I framed ninety of them in a long wooden frame resembling the shape of the slide itself. It was the first piece of art that I made after my mother died.”

The story came full circle one day when Worsham’s oldest neighbor Margaret brought out her dissection kit and microscope slides. She had been a biology teacher, and was holding the same sort of slides that fascinated Worsham. Margaret’s microscope and slides have since become a metaphor for Worsham’s desire to look deeper into the landscape of her childhood—from the flora and fauna to the feelings, Margaret calls it ‘blood work’.

The exhibition features a selection of Margaret’s dissection tools alongside her microscope, as well as audio of their various conversations about plants, life, and death. “I can remember one particular time when I visited Margaret,” says Worsham. “I looked out of her large picture window and saw what looked like a nest or hammock of small red berries draped between the winter trees. I asked Margaret what it was. She answered, ‘Why, that’s bittersweet. Bittersweet on Bostwick Lane.”

Worsham took her first photography class while studying graphic design in college. In 2009 she was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography, and her book Some Fox Trails in Virginia won first runner up in the fine art category of the Blurb Photography Book Now International Competition. In 2010 she was awarded the first TMC / Kodak Film Grant, and was an Artist-in-Residence at Light Work. Her work is held in private collections, and has been exhibited at the Corcoran Museum during FotoWeek DC, The Photographic Center Northwest, Silver Eye Center for Photography, and Dean Jensen Gallery. She was recently named one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch in 2011.

Also on view at this time is The Other New York: 2012, featuring work by Sarah Averill, Bang-Geul Han, Mark McLoughlin, Jan Nagle, and Matthew Walker. TONY: 2012 is organized by the Everson Museum of Art in collaboration with ArtRage—The Norton Putter Gallery, Community Folk Art Center, Erie Canal Museum, Light Work, Onondaga Historical Association, PuntodeContacto/Point of Contact, Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, SUArt Galleries, Urban Video Project, The Warehouse Gallery, City of Syracuse and XL Projects. Major funding is provided by The Central New York Community Foundation through the John F. Marsellus Fund.

Gallery hours for these exhibitions are Sunday-Friday, 10am-6pm (except school holidays), and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, please call 315-443-1300. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in Booth Parking Garage.

Light Work invites groups and individuals to schedule tours and gallery talks of the exhibition and facility. Light Work is a nonprofit, artist-run organization dedicated to the support of artists working in photography and electronic media. Light Work is a member of CMAC, the Coalition of Museum and Art Centers at Syracuse University.

For more information, please contact Jessica Reed at Light Work, 315-443-1300 or

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