Pipettes & Paintbrushes | Spring 2019



Artist: Sue Staten Kassirer, BFA sculpture, UMass ‘81 Website: suekassirerclay.com and on Facebook: Hidden in the Hills Studio

Works in clay and teaches classes at her home studio in Leverett. Her career in art has taken on many iterations in response to life. Sue has worked as a graphic designer and set, props and costume designer for theater, and she has taught clay classes going on 17 years now. Her interest in installation art led her to co-found Art Grows Here, an annual outdoor tour of art in Hamilton and Wenham Massachusetts. Sue is also a member of the Leverett Cultural Council and New England Sculptor’s Association Predator Research in the Ceramics Studio I am thrilled to be involved in this collaborative project, bringing the worlds of art and scientific research together. Meeting Kadambari Devarajan and learning about her research on top-tier predators in India has been a thrill. As an artist, I have focused a large part of my career on nature and the environment; consequently, her work with these animals grabbed my imagination. I’ve taken the various aspects of KD’s research and made them into the decorative elements of an exotic pot, the form of which serves as an allegory to just how different the methods of scientific research are in comparison to my studio practice: Hers, being an indirect, passive observational practice, whereas mine is a more direct, self-driven one. I’ve incorporated some of her photographic images with elements of trace signs of the carnivore activity that she is in search of. There is also the image of a road, which alludes to her long hours and the miles she puts in collecting her data.

Partners: Kadambari Devarajan, PhD candidate in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

I am an engineer-turned-ecologist and computer-scientist-turned-conservation-biologist. I am interested in how species are distributed in space and time, and how their interactions influence them at different levels - individual, population, community, ecosystem. My research focuses on mammalian carnivores, studied using different field methods such as deploying trail cameras and collecting scat samples. I am very excited with Sue Kassirer’s interpretation of my research. Her attention to detail, such as the pugmarks from trackplots for spoor and translating my photos and camera trap videos, right down to the carnivore scat, is impressive. She has managed to capture the spirit of my work on carnivores so beautifully using her art, incorporating little nuggets from our conversations and any visuals I was able to provide in creating her piece. At the same time, she has managed to keep the leitmotif of carnivore conservation running through her imagery. Placing the carnivores front and center, she highlights the myriad ways of studying them in the wild, and the complexities involved in doing so.