Susan Tierney’s work explores themes of anxiety and the perception of instability in the everyday. The narrative constructions Tierney creates ask where our minds go when confronted with slightly subverted versions of simple life moments. These oil paintings, based on the artist’s personal, informal snapshots, employ elements of realism that gain the trust of the viewer on initial contact. This realism is infused to varying degrees with a sense of unease, encouraging skepticism as the unsettling details sink in.
By questioning the truth in ostensibly benign situations, Tierney’s work hints at the improbable, the worst, and the weirdest possibilities that exist on the edges of everyday moments. There is a constant anxiety that springs from such a darkly inclined overworking of the ordinary, but a sense of gratification too. It’s easy to get caught up in questioning the familiar and unexceptional; latching onto things that aren’t quite right, wondering what might go wrong, what might be wrong already, or if this perceived instability is itself an illusion.
Are we better or worse off in questioning the ambiguity of small instances? When the present moment has the potential of becoming anything, when the passage of time wears away at the reliability of memory, how trustworthy does our certainty in everyday life become? Is it advisable to consider the world in terms of indeterminate outcomes and reflections? Is considering the ephemeral and unsettled aspects of the everyda