In her work as an artist, writer, curator, and educator, Susannah Bielak is interested in projects with collaboration, experimentation and research at their core. In her art practice, Bielak creates visual narratives that straddle the historical and contemporary. By researching paradoxical situations and uncanny relationships that she encounters in personal and public life, Bielak finds poetic ways of responding to social issues with material experimentation and collaborative practices. Projects have ranged from a happening staged on a seismic shake table, to prints pulled from engraved Formica kitchen tabletops. Collaborators have included rodeo cowboys, bus drivers, a veteran barbershop quartet, and, most recently, choreographers and engineers.
A graduate of Macalester College, Bielak earned her MFA in drawing, installation, and public practice at the University of California San Diego in 2009. Her work has been exhibited and collected internationally, including by the International Print Center, Luis Adelantado Mexico, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, and Walker Art Center. Arts fellowships and awards include the Jerome Visual Arts Fellowship, UC MEXUS Dissertation Award, University of California San Diego Humanities Award, Prometheus Award, Highpoint Jerome Fellowship, and Minnesota Center for Book Arts Jerome Fellowship. Bielak’s artwork and writing have been published in New American Paintings, Art Papers, and for the National Endowment for the Arts and Walker Art Center, among others. She has created and produced local, regional, national, and international arts programs within the context of arts nonprofits, universities, and museums, including the University of California San Diego and Walker Art Center.
Bielak currently lives in Chicago and is the Associate Director of Engagement and Curator of Public Practice at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.