Okla creates images that tease apart and dissect gnarled junctures of fear, desire, repulsion and the curse of corporeality by way of absurd juxtaposition and ironic metaphor. 

Okla portrays the body as an analogue to the vulnerabilities of the psycho-emotional self: just as physical wounds are opened, drained, sutured, infected, and scarred, so too are psychic and emotional traumas. Psychological distortions and maladies are transcribed onto flesh. Guts and gore intertwine with delicate and feminine emblems of childhood: as glistening innards spill forth and blood seeps from opened flesh, beaming girl-children display braids tied with pink ribbon bows; hearts and sparkles bedizen menacing animal dentitions. Oozing gashes are washed with saccharine. 

Rife with symbolic and referential imagery, these collage-drawings are amalgamations of found, referenced, and reappropriated source materials. This layering echoes the nonlinear nature of memory as it is excavated through the process of psychoanalysis, giving way to coincidental, accidental, and unexpected unconscious connections and associations. 

For Okla, art-making echoes this process: a means of working through unconscious terror while reviving the magic of childhood. By diaristically mining film, physiology, and the chthonian chasm of the subconscious, their work playfully investigates the putative dichotomy of childhood and maturity, and the nebulous overlap of human and animal.

© 2020 Susan Okla

Susan Okla Art Detroit, MI, USA