JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — In a red shawl and an ornate black hat, Susan K. Friedland is immediately recognizable as an artist. It was something projected from her being, her appearance and mannerisms.
A Johns Creek resident, Friedland just opened up an exhibit of her photography in the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville.
The exhibit, titled “Windows to the Soul,” features photographs from across America, from her home in Georgia to New York and San Francisco. The collection features not only photographs, but shadowboxes, a sculpture and an encaustic (a piece composed from layers of wax and other materials over a photograph).
Two incidents in her life pointed to her dedication in photography. An avid horseback rider, thirty-five years ago, she was thrown from her horse and injured, sustaining severe damage to her eye.
The doctors said she would never have full vision again, but over several months, her vision came back.
Her recovery went so well, she was asked to teach photography in Augusta, then in Boston, Mass., and finally back in Atlanta.
Friedland has three children. Two sons living now in New York, one of them with autism, and a daughter who attends Auburn University.
“One of the things I’ve learned from being the parent of an autistic child is to never, never, never give up. Keep at it. Whatever it is that you are trying to do in your own life, keep at it,” she said.
Friedland moved on to another portion of her exhibit, titled “An Unbridled Spirit,” which features three photographs of horses.
“Horses have led me to be the photographer I am today,” she said, as she explained the intent and process behind each photograph.
Mannequins are a large portion of Friedland’s work, and it started with her affinity for dolls.
“I loved Barbie, and in fact I had gone on from loving Barbie to having a whole collection of mannequins. So my art evolved from Barbies to larger Barbies,” she said with a laugh.
Another main feature of the exhibit is Friedland’s sculpture, “The Golden Door.” The piece is composed using a mannequin and various objects, and represents the strong feminine figure, but also brings to mind the Statue of Liberty. The statue incorporates the same quote from the poem “The New Colossus,” found inside the Statue of Liberty.
Friedland currently lives in Johns Creek with her husband, Dr. Lance Friedland. Her exhibit will run through April 6 at the Booth Western Art Museum, 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville, and her website is susankfriedland.com.