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Work Samples


Graphite on duralar over pastel on paper.

City Planning (detail)

This is a detail of "City Planning", the newest painting in a series of oil over collage that goes back thirty years.

Unfolding Landscape

Pastel and colored pencil on paper.

Angry Kitten

This is a detail of "Angry Kitten" one of two new paintings, oil on panel, added to the "Behind the Scenes" series.


About Susan

Baltimore County

As a faculty member at MICA I co-edited and wrote an essay on Critique in "Beyond Critique-Different Ways to Talk About Art" and was a presenter at a symposium on critique at Columbia University in the Fall 2016. Recently in "Baltimore Rising" at the Lazarus Center I was featured in Style Magazine's November issue.

Visual Commentary

These paintings are oil over collage, a technique that employs the research that went into the subject of the painting, and the hidden influences on our contemporary world. They aim to question misguided values and dangerous trends and have run parallel to my other work for more than thirty years.

  • City Planning (detail)

    The collage beneath the road shows satellite imagery of Baltimore and other cities where racial divisions are amplified by major highways dividing the neighborhoods.The collage under the sky shows the difference between rich and poor in the environmental pollution.
  • The Production of a Free Workforce

    The collage beneath the painting shows articles about private prisons and the emphasis on laws that will increase the number of inmates, and about the racial disparities in the prison population.
  • Frontmen

    Collage and video loop show the faces of those who kept selling war in Iraq with images of nuclear weapons and fear.
  • Enter Fortress America

    Collage shows corporate influence behind the scenes in politics.
  • Homeland Security 1: Neighborhood

    Collage shows local Baltimore neighborhoods to consider the role of the US as aggressor.
  • Homeland Security 3:Park

    Collage reflects on the vulnerability of nature and the influence of the arms industry on aggression.
  • Rapacity

    Transfers beneath the painting reflect the exploitation of the planet's resources.
  • Avidity Redux

    Transfers beneath the painting show the historic monuments and architecture being destroyed by greed.

Consciousness Drawings

Throughout my career, the pastel and colored pencil drawings I use to explore consciousness, reflect on its many levels, and how states of mind are influenced. Exploring the edges of an emotional state I use clouds to establish the emotional weather as a boundlessness that we try to pin down. The drawings are philosophical in their intent, questioning the assumption that consciousness is individually localized.


During mt 2013 sabbatical I plunged into ideas of material being through work with clay. Painting in oils on stoneware and porcelain I tried to suggest the place where the non- material becomes physical and when the physical begins to shift into spirit.

Behind the Scenes

Connected to visual ideas in the 3D work, this series uses graphite and duralar stitched together with red thread.
The lower layer is watercolor, the stitching drawing attention to key areas. The illusionistic challenge that propelled me was to get the image to seem to push forward as though a force was growing and swelling behind it. The stitching represents resistance to this growth which creates suffering. Formally, in addition to working against the idea of illusionistic space always opening a window out into space, I also create the illusion of the surface pulling against the stitching.

Behind the Scenes 2017-18

The focus in “Behind the Scenes” is the energy that pushes from the other side of the picture. All of my work hopes to represent what’s invisible to conventional senses, to suggest that reality doesn’t end with what we know. I’m fascinated with the mystery of “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” The question of what pushes life into being is why I study the boundary that makes it visible.
In the drawings prior to this year, creating an impression of something pushing from behind the surface, coupled with our resistance to giving up old layers was the primary focus. By taking these drawings to paint, using oils on panel more tactile illusion is possible. Using skin as the metaphor for the boundary that gives that energy an appearance of materiality, the psychology of our relationship to that energy is expressed through the condition of the skin, thick to thin in “Angry Kitten”, inflamed and diseased in “Snarling Puppy”. Each includes the presence of the past in the visible layers thinking of time as nested, not linear.
The two new drawings use the additional restraint of the frame using the paper’s surface as the element that seemingly holds back. This helped me work out what was necessary for the relationship with what holds it back. By including the illusion of an actual frame the sense of the painting bulging toward the viewer is increased. The whole series resists both the conventions of painting as a window and figure/ground breakdown. Without a “figure” I am able to evade recognition. I want things to look real without identity. Besides skin, what can be identified, staples and buckles, are obviously not what the picture is about. By using the image of being restrained by something I hope to dramatize primitive emotions held in the flesh and stimulate mirror neurons and their attending physical reactions without familiar features. Snarling Puppy uses disintegrating skin to reflect on the corruption of hman feeling.

Susan's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.