“Arte Povera” means art of the poor, and it describes an art movement in Italy in the 1970s that influenced Susan Blosten to create eclectic mixed media artworks with found objects.
Before she discovered this approach, she speaks of growing up the oldest of seven in a historic house, built in 1792 on Philadelphia's Main Line.
Her grandmother, mother, brothers and sister attended various art schools from Slade School in London to Rhode Island School of Design to Art Institute of San Francisco. “They are talented artists. I never had confidence to purchase expensive art supplies so I began to buy paintings on canvas. Some I painted over ... On some I added various found objects.”
“On Sundays, we would pile into the car and find abandoned houses. Some were really old.”
She loved art history.
Her college major was in English/liberal arts at Penn State and she created one painting in the 1960s, then took some classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where they drew pictures of sculptures.
That failed to engage her imagination.
After moving to Denver, she took classes at the Denver Art Students League with Gary Paul, who led students through alleys seeking materials and taught them to assemble them.
“I sometimes have obscure reasons for putting things where I do,” she continues, showing a new painting. “That figure of Napoleon was just the right size.” (It was cut from a magazine and added in collage technique.) He looks like he's about to walk into a French shop. The thin little picture of tiles at the shop's entry was also just right as to size and perspective …”
She works on several pieces at a time and some have taken years. “I just keep adding…”
She especially mentions “Bruja de Cordove,” which will be in her show: It is the story of an imprisoned crone who drew a picture of a crow in her jail cell. The crow came alive, broke out of the cell's window and flew the bruja to freedom. “Art is liberating.”
If you go:
“Urban and Folk Tales,” art by Susan Blosten, will be exhibited at Koelbel Library, 5955 S. Holly St., Centennial, through Sept. 4-30. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays.