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Sullivan Goss is pleased to announce a new exhibition for Susan McDonnell called A Quiet Nature, the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. A realist painter, Susan’s paintings are narratives inspired by her observations of wild animals in their natural habitats. She is able to immerse herself in their world and find the quiet moment when we commune with the wild. In the artist’s own words, “These paintings are the pauses, the space between thoughts and words, where we sense a real connection with animals.”
There is an undercurrent of magic that flows through these paintings, for while they are exacting images of wildlife, there is something else in the eyes of the animals and in the way they hold their heads, tilted to the side as if understanding the viewer’s gaze. It’s a magical realism that dwells in the veil between the two worlds of the waking and the dream like, the wild and the tame.
To be able to record these moments of contact, Susan will often sit for hours, blending into the habitat of whatever creature she is waiting for, be it the tidal salt marsh in California or the deep woods of Minnesota. She waits for rabbits and lizards and bears, chipmunks and squirrels and hummingbirds. She brings her own quiet nature to the animals’ home to become one with them if only for a moment.
Albrecht Dürer and Otto Marseus van Schrieck are influences on Susan’s exacting technique while Beatrix Potter and Lewis Carroll inform the angle of her imagination. Susan has been slowly shifting from still life paintings in which the botanical elements take center stage to wildlife in their habitat. A Quiet Nature is a delightful realisation of that transition.
Susan received both her B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where she later taught for many years. She has been exhibited extensively in the L.A. and in Santa Fe, but began being represented by Sullivan Goss in 2014. Susan currently splits her time between California and Minnesota.
3:26 | Susan Bush
Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem,” says A.A. Milne from the popular book Winnie the Pooh. This quote has directly affected the new work of artist Susan McDonnell, who will be showcasing her magical, highly realistic animal and wildlife paintings at Sullivan Goss. While her past collections have explored the intri- cacies of still life, she slowly expanded to include living elements.