Out of Character Trudy Borenstein-Sugiura

September 20 - January 7

I have a lifelong love affair with paper and have saved, catalogued and hoarded report cards, postcards, travel brochures, invoices, documents, medical records and books of travels, important personal events and several generations of my family’s ephemera.

My investigations into portraiture through the use of original source documents and related material has its roots in the desire to record and capture time while exploring memory in order to establish identities and reveal new perspectives. Even as portraits typically evoke a likeness, filtered through personality or mood, they also form a historical record that tells an incomplete story. Documents are nonjudgmental and reflect many forgotten aspects of personal history as they relate to society, cultural practices and personal idiosyncrasies. They are evidence of the multiple aspects of a point in time; building blocks to the whole. The reuse of these precious papers is with the intent of repurposing them for future reflection. They become not just the surface of the portrait, but materialize as inherent elements of the narrative. Words, times and dates of particular importance blend into shadows in order to tell the story.

My bird travelogues are represented by a native species from an area I’ve traveled and the papers included reflect my experiences there.

My current series, “Character Studies”, are collages comprised of papers on which I have written letters to the subject using rubber stamps and handwriting. These images are the amalgam of outward appearance and inward introspection.

-Trudy Borenstein-Sugiura

Trudy Borenstein-Sugiura is an award-winning designer of fine jewelry and tabletop objects whose work is included in the Permanent Collection of the Smithsonian Institution at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and has been exhibited and sold in galleries, design stores and museums internationally. After a full and successful career in the jewelry industry, Trudy has returned to her fine art training to create art in its purest form. She is inspired by her current explorations; creating portraits out of the important documents of her subject’s lives. Carefully organizing and categorizing medical records, report cards, death certificates, maps and more, to construct likenesses that explore memory and reveal new perspectives. Through scrupulous arrangements and obsessive detail, she is telling stories; exploring the past and repurposing it for future reflection. In the past 2 years, her current work has been exhibited in galleries in New York City, Chicago, Denver, L.A. and the Hamptons.

More Exhibitions

Donor Wheel

More than 2,000 donors are acknowledged in this one-of-a-kind sculpture by Joshua Kirsch

Neighborhood Portrait

The Neighborhood Portrait Quilt is part of a permanent exhibition that tells a story of important leaders and residents.