here, there, everywhere
- Exhibition: Jan. 28–Feb. 23, 2019
- Reception: Thurs., Feb. 14 at 6:00 pm
- Artist talk at 6:30 pm
Best known for her panoramic oil paintings developed from direct observation, Susan Stephenson uses scenery from her everyday life and transforms it through an exploration of color and light. A native of Louisiana, she received her BFA degree from Louisiana Tech University and her MFA degree from Boston University, where she studied with John Moore. After living in southern New England for over twenty years and teaching at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Stephenson now lives in California and teaches in the Art Department of the School of the Arts at California State University, Stanislaus.
Navigating a line between attraction and unease, I am torn between the lovely places that appeal to most people and locations that many might find un-paintable. Traffic lights and stop signs inspire me; instead of pretending that electric lines are nonexistent, I use them to break the sky into visual patterns, letting them catch the light against the shifting blue of the atmosphere. Every day, people often sleepwalk past opportunities to see beauty in the mundane. Rather than wait a hundred years for our culture to look back wistfully at some of the things we currently overlook, I prefer to show their beauty right now. Why wait?
Using curvilinear perspective, I can cram more of my visual experience into the rectangle, and I now see that my easy relationship with it is partly due to my having grown up in a geodesic dome. After twenty years of using the wraparound view, it permeates my work automatically now, and the spatial relationships of landscape define all of my work regardless of genre. I find it meditative to look for equilibrium between a work’s formal relationships and the visual cues from a particular location, and as a result, the balancing of abstraction and reality has become one of my primary reasons for creating. Ultimately, I look for combinations in modern life that spark that peculiar blend of kooky and beautiful I find so compelling.
Updated: May 30, 2023