Hazel Larsen Archer, Portrait of Susan Weil, ca. 1948. Vintage gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer.

Susan Weil, Musical Chairs, 1995. Acrylic on paper. Collection of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center . Gift of the Artist

Susan Weil (Student 1948-1949) (b.1930)

Susan Weil is a painter, printmaker, and book artist who grew up in New York and still lives there today. She had an unusual and creative childhood before going to Paris to study at the Academie Julian, where she met artist Robert Rauschenberg. In the fall of 1948, they went together to Black Mountain College to study with Josef Albers. They found Albers’ courses intensely rigorous, but learned a lot and formed relationships with their fellow students, including Ruth Asawa, Joseph Fiore, Ray Johnson, and Elizabeth Jennerjahn. Weil enjoyed the community aspects of the college and worked on many collaborative projects, often using materials found at the dump with Rauschenberg for inspiration.

At the college, Weil created her first word collage by tearing up a page of her journal and arranging the page into an illegible collage called Secrets. This idea became a major theme in her work for the rest of her life. Beginning in the 1980s, Weil committed to creating one “poemumble” every day, combining writing and drawing to explore her daily life, emotional experiences, and reflections on other artists’ work. She also creates paintings and sculptures that explore motion, time, and the figure, often fragmenting space and rearranging it. Weil seeks to uncover “the interior voice”, saying, “When you’re making work, you’re outside of yourself. Your mind is the moving force, more than your hand. It’s something that takes place in spite of you.” Weil has exhibited at many major galleries and museums in New York and beyond, and continues to make new work today.