Suzanne Moxhay – surreal dystopian landscapes

The last speaker we had at the end of term was Suzanne Moxhay  and it was great to meet her and discuss her work – Suzanne uses photography and found images to create surreal pictures that are beguiling and beautiful.     Incredible dystopian romantic landscapes that suck you in.

Vestibule – Suzanne Moxhay

At first glance, one of her images might appear fairly straightforward but then your eye will catch a detail that doesn’t fit and before long you realise that the shadows are wrong, the perspective is wrong, the lighting is confusing and there is a curious depth to the work that is inexplicable.    A decaying room contains a pine forest…… your eye flips between the two scales.    Plus, on close inspection the works contain incredible detail that somehow could not have been captured by a mere photograph.
Undercroft – Suzanne Moxhay

Suzanne explained how she started with some old US travel magazines with wide sweeping landscapes and she would use these as backdrops to her work, enjoying the granularity of the old printing methods combined with newer, higher quality images.   She may scan prints and use several different elements from them, plus she digitally manipulates images too.
Her works start as 3D models of cutout photographs and found images, painstakingly made in her studio, these are then photographed again, which gives the surreal depth to the works.
She describes her work as a composite – half photograph and half painting.
Highway – Suzanne Moxhay

She is influenced by romantic landscape paintings and I certainly saw echoes of Caspar David Friedrich in her work.    Also she has been influenced by film making and the traditional methods of painting backdrops.
Cloister Cemetery in the show – Caspar David Friedrich 1817

Each piece takes her weeks.   It struck me how different from my own practice where I might be really pleased if I spent a few hours working on an image, and rarely even spend that long.   It made me wonder how much more I could achieve if I put as much care, passion and attention into my artwork too.
I loved seeing her work and hearing how it was made, and will definitely seek out her work in galleries – I suspect there is an emotional punch from the actual work.
All photographs by kind permission of the artist.  Find out more on her website here >>
The featured image is from another series of works called Feralis.