Susan Jane Belton: “What’s Yours?”


Susan Jane Belton is intrigued with the things we consume and how daily rituals reveal aspects of our individuality. In “What’s Yours?” Belton has targeted the ubiquitous logo-emblazoned takeout coffee cup which reflects the preoccupation with brand loyalty that pervades contemporary consumerism. The artist explores the connection between alluring product packaging, carefully fashioned by purveyors, and how our purchasing choices disclose subtle details about our personality, desires and habits. Even more, our favorite brands link us to group identities, such as regional tastes and social strata. Similar to Andy Warhol’s pop art Brillo boxes, Belton has elevated a packaged product into the ranks of high art. Her focused attention, bold rendering, and beautiful paint passages provide a second life to the colorful graphic labels that decorate these disposable cups.

“What’s Yours?” features a grid of 20 sensitively rendered oil on panel portraits of various cups—Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and varied regional brands—collected by the artist during her travels. Belton remarks that the group of cup portraits “read like high school yearbook photos” that may shed future light on “the collective taste and values of a certain era.” Also included is a series of still life drawings on paper and vellum, in which Belton creates a dizzying mash up of colorful logos and outlines of overlapping plastic lids and containers. The rhythmic outlines vibrate with a dynamic array of contour lines.

Belton received a BA from Colby College and studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her works are in the collections of the Hood Museum, Dartmouth College; deCordova Museum; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Belton teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

CBD Microroasters , 2012
Oil on panel
Courtesy of the artist and Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston