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

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John Torreano Foreward to Depingo Ergo Sum

By John Torreano

Ms. McLaughlin, defines her life by her art (“Depingo Ergo Sum”). She has certainly had a long and varied career as an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design (1992) and went on to receive a Master of Arts in Studio Art degree from New York University (1994), where, as director of the Masters Program, I first became acquainted with her work. By the time she entered the graduate program, she had already established herself as a working illustrator and designer. In this respect she follows in the tradition of artists like Charles Burchfield who, in addition to painting, supported himself by creating wallpaper designs and illustrations. Ms. McLaughlin has applied her impressive technical skills and artistic vision to an eclectic variety of subject matter and media, ranging from portraits to landscapes, watercolor illustrations for children, to sophisticated pen and ink drawings, and whimsical, subtly barbed cartoons.
Throughout these many iterations, her work maintains a consistently assertive and convincing quality in both style and image. The portraits and landscapes show authority with brushwork and color wherein the images, be they of people or flowers, hover between caricature and illustration, with a flatness that brings to mind odd juxtapositions of artists like Van Gogh and  Grandma Moses.
For me, what makes her work most intriguing are the finely detailed images of animals like the butterflies, ladybugs, spiders, frogs, monkeys and others, that appear throughout her work. She employs a “microscopic” approach to detail that provides subtle clues and playful suggestions about her subjects that function as quasi-disguised symbolisms. Indeed, the more bizarre her associational connections are, as in her paintings Alice's Aura or Catcher, the better.
Ms McLaughlin has taken her plan to pursue a life in art and run with it. Her cartoons are good, as are the portraits and the illustrations for children. She applies her undeniable talent in all the ways that she can, moving nimbly across subject matter, context and medium, in order to present a coherent artistic vision.
Her work explores the natural world in an effort to create a more perfect alternative, a world consisting of her personal vocabulary of meanings. In an absurd world, her attack on life and art is very much in the existentialist tradition of John-Paul Sartre.

Sag Harbor, NY
June, 2011

John Torreano is Clinical Professor of Studio Art and Co-Director of the MFA in Studio Art Program at New York University. He has exhibited his works in museums and galleries of national and international standing, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery. He is represented in New York by Feature Inc. Gallery.