All Exhibitions

Hall of Portraits from The History of Machines - Opening Reception

JUNE 3 - JULY 31

works by Sue Johnson
  • Opening Reception / Meet the Artist: Friday, June 3 / 5-8pm
  • Free and open to the public
  • Opening Reception coincides with Art Round Town*

"Mining the archive is like building a time machine; I look at the material culture of the past as a way of understanding what has come into being in our contemporary times." – Sue Johnson

Exhibit Statement:
All spaces hold art in different ways. With Sue Johnson's exhibit, 3S Artspace is not only exhibiting Sue Johnson's first solo show in New England— 3S is also providing the first opportunity for the artist to exhibit nine monumental works in a single space. Each of Sue's works is extraordinary and thought-provoking on its own, but shown together, they create a singular and timely experience for artist and viewer, enveloping us in a surreal interpretation of the role of women in the home and in society.

Artist Statement:
Sue Johnson’s Hall of Portraits from The History of Machines constructs a disquieting satire that proposes an alternative pictorial history in which two objects of desire become one — the household convenience object and the emergent female form. The artist looks back to the commercial culture of mid-20th century America that championed progress, new technologies and a pursuit of the latest model. It was during this time that the new modern woman began to be idealized as sharing attributes with objects of domestic convenience, efficiency, and planned obsolescence. Mining the archive of material culture from advertising to the mass-produced objects that the artist collects, photographs, and ultimately transforms in her work, labor-saving domestic machines merge with the body – or vice-versa. The surreal, hybrid forms created by Johnson seem familiar yet at the same time we know they are actually a highly fictional, patriarchal fantasy. Read more...

Acknowledgements: These works were created during a residency at The Sam and Adele Golden Foundation with additional fellowship support from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Photography: Richard Walker Photography

*Art 'Round Town is a gallery walk in Portsmouth on the first Friday of each month.


Stay connected to the Gallery from home: view the virtual Gallery!


Generously supported by:


3S Artspace is supported in part by a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

3S Artspace is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan from the National Endowment for the Arts.


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