Susan McEachern: Structures of Meaning
Since the mid-1980s, Susan McEachern has examined the ways in which photography is involved in the production of cultural meaning. Her inquiry is supported by writings taken from historical, theoretical, and personal sources. In her early works, the artist used photographs, both as single images and in combination with text, to explore the social conditions of individual experience, in particular that of women. More recent projects examine the social values humans assign to nature. In all her projects, McEachern investigates the relation of photography to issues of family, community, and place. She uses her own home and family as one source of her subject matter. Other works draw on the locale of Nova Scotia, where she presently lives.
Susan McEachern holds a BA in Theatre from Hamline University, Minnesota, a diploma in Photography from the Banff Centre, and an MA in Sociology from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. McEachern has taught photography at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax since 1979.
In the feminist tradition, McEachern’s work uses the personal to comment on the social. Working mainly in colour, she combines photographs taken in and around her home, with images from different sources, including the mass media. These are accompanied by texts, in her own words, or drawn from fairytales, feminist treatises, medical journals, feminist utopia literature, and other sources. McEachern is interested in investigating why certain values and beliefs are dominant in our culture, and the impact these have on people’s, particularly women’s, lives. Her voice, though critical, is tinged with humour and irony, and is not without optimism. She believes that by exploring different ways of living in and making sense of the world, there is hope for positive change.
Susan McEachern’s work has been widely exhibited in North America and is represented in numerous public and private collections. She is currently at work on Stable Community, an inquiry into the equestrian world.
- Author: Andrea Kunard
- 90 pages, hardcover