Welcome to my site.
Suzanne Siegel is an assemblage artist living in Los Angeles. She works with found images, creating feminist narratives. Her interest is in transforming everyday objects into poetic statements.
Quarantine Purses, 2020
When the Corona virus lockdown first came about in Los Angeles in March of 2020, looking for artistic inspiration in my immediate surroundings, I opened the studio closet and re-discovered five small evening bags inherited from my mother. Then, as Quarantine Purses progressed, I received lovely contributions from friends and family, purses that were heirlooms or brought back pleasant memories for their owners.
The purses are containers of identity. Various objects that women carry in their handbags reveal different aspects of their lives; I incorporated examples in the form of keys, lipstick, mirrors and photos into some of the pieces. Since I worked in the isolation of quarantine, the items I added to each purse also came from my studio.
Also, these evening bags—often with elaborately beaded exteriors and with soft, dark interiors—signify the feminine body. Some purses became stages for domestic dramas such as “Notion of Home” and “Burden of Home.” Other narratives dealt with memory, aging and loss. A few were simply expressing my own absurd, surrealistic take, like “Life Unspooling Like Thread Unraveling” as a voracious mouth and “All That Glitters” as fortune’s ladder to financial success. The floral needlepoint purses inspired “Trouble in the Garden” and “Garden Growing.”
Underlying this body of work was my concern with the pandemic and challenging events of 2020. Two of the purses—“Hestia” (Greek Goddess of the Hearth) and “Two Aphrodites”—reflect Leana Foster Melat’s 2001 thesis for Pacifica Graduate Institute: The Mythical and Psychological Meaning of a Woman’s Purse.
I hope you enjoy these pieces and would value any comment.
Thanks to Gwen Freeman, Sue Finley, Debra Combs, Gayla Trevino, and Rachel Siegel for donating their purses to this project.
Thank you for research suggestions from Adrienne Momi, Barbara Shore, and assistance from Mark Kelly of Pacifica Graduate Institute
Special thanks to Kay Brown who encouraged and critiqued the work in progress and Deborah Attoinese whose beautiful photographs show this work to its best advantage.