KS:What role does science and technology play in your work?
SS: I have always been fascinated with biological systems in nature, nature itself, as well as and especially as someone who relies on modern medicine to live. I believe my personal relationship of needing rDNA injections of Insulin sparked a larger investigation into biological systems, if just to use it as references in my own work. Technology is just as important. I cannot help but be fascinated with how rapidly technology changes our lives and the way we interact in society. Everyone is aware of the changes, but I believe it's even harder to do something about it. So, I often wonder, how can this ever growing and increasing influence of technology be brought into the natural world, and what would that merge look like?
KS: Our relationship to plants plays a large part in your work. How does this impact your installations and sculpture?
SS: Over the past five years I have had the opportunity to grow a collection of house plants, and have a summer vegetable garden for three years. This personal experience with caring for plants, growing food, watching seasonal change, and the diseases that come about, has deepened my understanding of the relationship between humans and plants. This includes our need of plants as a source of food and how plants can change the atmosphere of an interior room, especially in the context of the city. In my installations, I try to bring a sense of harmony with plants, or a sense of dependency of the plant. Many of my installations take on a futuristic theme, but overall it tries to have a meditative and appreciative approach towards plants, and how we can possibly live with them in the future.
KS: How do the digital spaces you create relate to the installations in relation to the real versus the artificial?
SS: My digital work originates from a fascination with how 3D scanners can "see" plants and how that translates into a digital medium, and exists on a purely digital level. Many of my models originated from visiting commercial stores such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart. The mass production of the plant is then highlighted in the digital medium through looping videos or GIFs together. The digital space is an artificial space. It has no relationship to the rest of the world around it. I wanted to give plants a home in the digital world and explore that relationship. While the scans are of living plants, the digital ones take on a new life, and even a new mutation, that I'm interested in. They are as artificial as anything else we create, which may speak to the general nature of the world today, thus they are more separated and isolated than my installations, which are more inviting and friendly.
KS: How do you incorporate light into your work?
SS: I use light as an atmospheric medium. It helps transform a space, an object, or even the meaning of something. Light has a beautiful quality, and my use of light originated from the need to provide a source of light for plants to feed off indoors. Many of my studios either have limited light or, as in my current space, have absolutely no windows. So the use of light, in some ways, also originates from my working spaces. Within the installations and sculptures, light is something that is used to highlight particular objects, or even change the color temperature of the room. In earlier pieces, I used light as a way to show visual "communication" between sculptures.
KS: What current projects are you working on?
SS: Currently I am in the process of going back to architecture and personal narratives to create abstracted drawings of structures, interior, and exterior spaces on felt and black paper. I started working with concrete earlier this year and I am planning on furthering the exploration of concrete as sculpture and a drawing medium.
I am preparing a small installation in a window space in Pittsburgh for November that includes a serial series of mountain drawings, and a smaller sculptural piece using fabric and paper to be shown at Queen of Angels: When a Church Dies v.2.0 in Newark, NJ this October. At the beginning of 2018 I am curating an exhibition titled "Post-Earth" at Index Art Center in Newark, NJ that is looking at artists working in a post-climate change era.