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​Sullivan Goss – An American Gallery is pleased to announce The World at Home, the gallery’s second solo exhibition for the highly successful Pasadena based artist, Susan McDonnell.

McDonnell reveals microcosmic worlds in the natural curiosities she finds in the garden just outside her studio. Exquisite rendering of minute details, imaginative juxtapositions, and dramatic stage lighting give her images of flora and fauna an aura of magic. Her meticulous application of studio made egg tempera paints and her customary adherence to a one to one scale give them the allure of Old World craftsmanship. Finally, the interaction between characters such as the snail, the lizard, and the cheerful butterfly suggest an intriguing story.

McDonnell’s new body of work also includes paintings that lead the viewer away from the still life and into larger worlds of magical realism. In one, a vortex of clouds echos the sinuous style of Thomas Hart Benton, drawing the eye into a hummingbird fairy tale. In another, tropical flowers frame the view to a land that evokes Martin Johnson Heade’s fantastic paintings of South America in the 19th century. These are places where the veil between the worlds of dreams and reality becomes translucent. While the elements of each painting are exactingly realistic, there is an undercurrent of the subconscious running through them; we recognize all of the elements with a sense of deja vu. Is it a place we have been before in our earthly travels or one we have visited in our dreams? 

Susan McDonnell received both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and her Masters of Fine Arts from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She currently teaches at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles. She has shown extensively in Los Angeles and Santa Fe. This will be her second solo exhibition in Santa Barbara. Sullivan Goss represents the artist.


3:01 | Susan Bush

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