IllusionAllusion: Sculpture by Susan Sills Reinterprets Old Masters Via Life-Size Wood Cutouts

Familiar Images Take on Modern Meanings at Queens College Art Center Installation

Exhibition Dates:                              
Thursday, May 6–Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Queens College Art Center
(part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts) 
6th floor, Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library
Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing

Artist’s Talk and Reception:
Thursday, May 6, 5–8 pm; Artist’s Talk 6–7 pm

Gallery Hours:                                  
Monday–Thursday, 9 am–8 pm, Friday, 9 am–5 pm through May 25. May 26–28, 1–5 pm. June: Monday–Friday, 9 am–5 pm. Closed on holidays.

Gallery Contacts:                              
For more info: (718) 997-3770

Free and open to the public

FLUSHING, NY, April 28, 2010 – IllusionAllusion, an installation of reinterpreted life-size wood cutouts of Old Masters by Susan Sills, will be on display at the Queens College Art Center from Thursday, May 6 through Wednesday, June 30. On May 6 the artist will present a free gallery talk from 6 to 7 pm. A reception will be held at 5 pm, and again after the talk until 8 pm. For information on additional events to be scheduled, please visit

After Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Grand Jatte

After Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Grand Jatte

In IllusionAllusion, Sills presents whimsical installations of painted cutout sculptures that restructure the timelines of modern art history. Images from Old Master artworks—cut out of plywood and oil-painted using the original artist’s technique be it Van Gogh’s heavy impasto orIngres’ subtle glazes—appear in a totally new context. Rendered life-size, regardless of the scale

of the original, these visitors to our world relate to the viewer as well as to each other, creating playful narratives. When these cutouts are released from the confinement of their frames and thrust into real space and time, frequently in provocative juxtapositions, familiar personages casually confront the contemporary viewer in surprising ways that provoke not only whimsy, but fresh insights into art’s potential.

“Renoir’s dancing couple, Velasquez’ princess, Gauguin’s Tahitian maiden all somehow change when they enter our rooms,” says the artist. “Bringing these characters into the 21st century creates another issue. If we are to relate to them on a personal level, they must somehow be in our world. With props and unexpected combinations, each character can take on an entirely new meaning. With wit and sometimes humor, a new story is born. Some of the commentary is art-referential, a twist on another art form or another esthetic: art about art. Some of the works are simply the figures as illusion. ‘Is that really someone over there?’ ”

Sills has been recognized as owning the art form of the painted cutout, an illusionistic trompe l’oeil style both witty and virtuosic that entertains and profoundly affects viewers. Her life-size figures, “with their startling combination of the actual and the illusory,” have been found “as eerily convincing as the effigies in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum”; her “painterly skills and sculptor’s sense of space imbue her hybrid art form with a compositional and narrative logic all their own,” to the point that “suddenly encountering one of her figures in a gallery or museum evokes a shock of recognition similar to meeting a celebrity in the flesh” (Ed McCormack, in Susan Sills, The Cutting Edge, New York, Viridian Artists, 2005).

After Breughel, The Peasant Dance; After Chagall, Green Violinist; After Manet, The Guitar Player

After Breughel, The Peasant Dance; After Chagall, Green Violinist; After Manet, The Guitar Player

Sills, a native New Yorker who lives and works in Brooklyn, holds a BA from Queens College. She also studied at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art, Boston Museum School of Art, New York University, and Art Students League. Sills has exhibited widely. In New York City her work has been presented by Viridian Artists, Lee Gallery, the Brooklyn YWCA, and Brownstone Gallery. She has had one-person shows at Schacknow Museum of Art, Plantation, FL; Pensacola Museum of Art, Pensacola, FL; Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY; and Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA. She has also participated in group shows presented by the Whitney Museum of American Art; Soho20; John Jay College; College of Mount St. Vincent; Concordia College; Williamsburg Art and Historical Society; Gallery 128; Lever House; Weisner Gallery; Chuck Levitan Gallery; Federal Plaza Gallery; Brooklyn Museum Community Gallery; Warner Communications Gallery; Banker’s Trust Gallery; American Standard Gallery; the Artistic Mile in New York; Peninsula Museum of Art, Belmont, CA; Fountain Gallery, Cape Girardeau, MO; FABG Gallery, Chicago, IL; Pirate Gallery, Denver, CO; Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia, PA; Chinese Cultural Institution Gallery, Boston, MA; 1992 Columbus Quincentennial, Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ; as well as in Japan and France.


Sills’ work has been published in 100 New York Painters by Cynthia Maris Dantzic (Schiffer Publishing, 2006), in the New York Times, Gallery & Studio, Manhattan Arts, Artspeak, The Artist’s Magazine, Photo, The Phoenix, Prospect Press, Women Artists News, New York Arts Journal, Paper City Magazine, Houston, and in exhibition catalogs. Her art is in museum, corporate, and private collections in the United States and Japan.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. Photographs, as well as biographical and sales information, are available upon request.

Visitors to IllusionAllusion: The Sculptures by Susan Sills may also want to see Dalí Today: A Cultural Event and Dalí Dance and Beyond: An Exhibition (through June 12) at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum on campus. For information on these exhibitions and their events, please visit

For directions to Queens College, please visit For a campus map, go to (Rosenthal Library/Art Center).

 The Queens College Art Center, founded in 1987, succeeds the Queens College Art Library Gallery established in 1960. In more than 200 exhibitions to date, the Art Center has shown masters like Alice Neel, Joseph Cornell, and Elizabeth Catlett, and introduced scores of artists from around the globe. Focusing on modern and contemporary programming expressive of the best art of our time, this display space presents the works of emerging and established artists in diverse media. Art Center exhibitions support the educational and cultural objectives of Queens College. The shared goal of the Queens College Art Center and the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College is to provide the means for participating in and upholding a democratic society through learning, adaptation, and critical thinking.

For more about Queens College visit

Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services