Frustrations, Contradictions and Storm: The Domestic Bliss series
Note by Ana Silva
With shocking bravery, nuanced humor, and a plentitude of crafted detail, Susan Copich’s Domestic Bliss self-portraits tackle the breadth and depth of Woman, and “all who are in touch with their feminine” as Copich puts it. Each portrait drips with liquid color and engages at both the narrative and lyrical registers. Pass your eyes around the corners of each print to uncover a fuller story— the noose that counters the perfect bursts of blush on the smiling mother’s face in Happy Days — the lurking plugged-in hair dryer in Bath Time. Also, let your eye stay in the spot that sears your heart — perhaps the strain of the inner thigh muscle in Let Go — or the dirt on the mother’s face in Mother’s Day. After I saw this overwhelming series at Cross Contemporary Art Gallery in Saugerties, NY, I spun back to a from the 2nd or 3rd Century C.E. called “Thunder, Perfect Mind”. This ancient poem continues to inspire generations, and even a short-film length . The huge, dramatic register of this poem matches the ambitious courage of Domestic Bliss. More importantly, both works hold within themselves the wisdom that we contain multitudes, as Whitman put it, or as Copich puts it, “We are expected and expect ourselves to be everything and nothing, at a sideways glance or change of tone or command from a child, friend or partner… but think of the power that we carry collectively, from centuries of this script; think of the amassed intelligence and strength, gleaned from this theater.” Copich never holds back from fully exploring herself, and through this, exploring all of us, in, as she puts it, our “exhausting and exhaustive state of being.”
lines from “Thunder, Perfect Mind”
For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am <the mother> and the daughter.
I am the members of my mother.
I am the barren one
I am she whose wedding is great,
and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not bear.
I am the solace of my labor pains.
I am the bride and the bridegroom,
I am the voice whose sound is manifold
and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name.
For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and boldness.
I am shameless; I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and peace.
Give heed to me.
I am she who is weak,
and I am well in a pleasant place.
I am senseless and I am wise.
I am the one who has been hated everywhere
and who has been loved everywhere.
I am the one whom they call Life,
and you have called Death.
I am the one whom they call Law,
and you have called Lawlessness.
I am she who does not keep festival,
and I am she whose festivals are many.I, I am godless,
and I am the one whose God is great.
Susan Copich is an award winning photographer known for her acclaimed photographic series Domestic Bliss. She was born in Youngstown, Ohio, received her B.F.A. in Performance and Choreography from Ohio State University and has had professional careers as a modern dancer, actor and Pilates studio owner/trainer.
Copich is primarily known for her dark and witty humor portrayed in her 2014 conceptual, photographic series Domestic Bliss. The series gives voice to Copich’s inner “darkness” while examining family life in a humorous context. Her series has been written up and reviewed in multiple different languages around the world.
Copich is currently working on a new series, then he forgot my name, that explores loss and decay on a many levels. ‘The Cupcake’ a video short by Susan Copich in collaboration with Nathan Buck was released in 2016.
Her work is in private collections internationally, as wells as, shown in galleries and museums.
She lives in upstate, NY where she resides with her husband and two daughters.