Susanna Bard is preparing for her featured showing here at Eastside Gallery in early September. She was one of the early artists that began exhibiting in the gallery when we opened last year, and her works often provoke comments from our visitors.
When approaching one of her works in person, one of the first things to enjoy are her textures. Each painting has been executed with careful attention to the physical properties of the acrylic with which she builds her images. Both her objective (paintings of stuff) and non-objective (paintings not representing objects) works have a sculptural quality that extends the flat surface of the picture plane. I know that Susanna also decorates cakes and baes, and I believe that her presentation from one discipline informs the other. Like her sweets, her paintings look good enough to eat.
Some of her works feature repeated motifs, similar to Mattisse or Warhol’s repeated decorative patterns and objects. Works such as Twenty Roses or Pink Dozen feature large blossoms painted with thick bands of richly colored paint. These paintings, worked up from a flat black canvas ground, remind me of cupcakes, packed neatly in a bakery box.
In each of her paintings, areas of light and shadow intermingle causing a vibration of color to appear. Works such as River Birch shimmer with light one would associate with bright summer light, filtered through a canopy of leaves. The extreme vertical composition echoes the tall shape of the mighty tree. The height gives the eyes room to travel from the top to the bottom of the canvas, and the subtle tonal shift in the negative spaces provide a resting place for the eyes. It makes for a striking composition, and has made me hesitant to rotate that particular painting off of the walls of the gallery.
Susanna’s paintings are each luscious in color, texture and subject matter. If you have not had the fortune to see any of her works in person, I encourage you to visit the gallery and let your eyes feast. We will be celebrating the opening of her featured show on Friday September 9th. She will be in the gallery painting on Saturday August 27th. The plan is to also have Corey McNeely in to provide a soundtrack. Come that evening to get a sneak peek at what she has to share.