Susan's "subject matter, context and medium...present a coherent artistic vision"
John Torreano, Clinical Professor of Studio Art, NYU

"Great stuff. Love your work."
Seymour Chwast

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

It Lead Three Lives


Water Under the Bridge, which will be shown at Avance Gallery, is the third and final iteration of a painting that has lived three lives.

                    
                             Water Under the Bridge, acrylic, 36 x 24"

All of my paintings start out as nothing but a plain white canvas and then evolve into something different. But in order to complete this one, I had to bury its first two lives under layers of new paint. Like former FBI Director James Comey, I feel slightly nauseated about this coverup and I miss the two inner beauties.  But they are, well, water under the bridge.

Water Under the Bridge began simply enough as one of a series of nude studies I was painting from life models. I called this group Shy Nudes. The series was exhibited at Fort Lauderdale's Fat Village, where Shy Nude #2 enjoyed its heyday as part of a Fat Village monthly Art Walk. I called them “shy” because I painted parts of their anatomy as flowers. I did this in an attempt to illustrate (literally)
the unity of humanity and nature.

The painting's second life was as Two Bucks (one human, one deer), which  embodied a further exploration of my belief in the essential harmony between humanity and nature. That life was ephemeral because I soon became more interested in the water and its possibilities than the two bucks. You can see both of these now-hidden beauties below.

               
                                           Shy Nude #2                                                                                 Two Bucks

It is this capricious, uncharted evolution and resolution of a painting that intrigues me. The discovery is thrilling! Can you imagine starting on a project with no notion of what the end will bring or what it will look like? Or even if you start with an embryonic idea, the finished work often turns out to be something completely different from what you originally contemplated. And then, even after it is finished, it evolves into something else and then morphs into something else again!

Many artists have painted over images for reasons ranging from lack of funds for a new canvas, discouragement, to change of vision–even Picasso! Yes, even his masterpiece Blue Room had two lives: t
he first, a hidden occupant just below the surface paint. You can see him here. If not for infrared technology, he would never have been seen again.

This transformative process of discovery is part of the thrill that I experience time and time again, here, there and elsewhere. That, by the way, is the title of my upcoming solo exhibition opening on August 25th at The Good News Gallery in Woodbury, CT. This will be my third show at this lovely setting. But we can...


Cross that bridge when we come to it,

3 comments:

  1. I love this!!! It's the best writing I've seen by an artist! I'd like to publish it with your permission

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  2. It’s exciting to follow you and your work, your writing and your art…you’ve been quite prolific this past year. Yahoo for you!

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  3. Congrats on the shout-out from Renee Phillips! .
    It certainly looks like your art and writing and exhibits are flourishing. How wonderful for you!! I’m impressed you manage to do it all from two homes.

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