“Rich colors draw me in, patterns guide me through, and flat, poetic shapes allow me to rest.” — Susan Melrath
It is just these rich colors and flat, poetic shapes that drew me in to Susan Melrath’s work. Susan takes complex forms like flowers, architecture and figures and condenses them to their most basic shapes.
By doing so, the viewer becomes more drawn in by the emotionality brought to the surface through her use of vibrant color applied to the forms, rather than by the subjects themselves.
Though I love ALL of Susan’s work, it is her Garden series that speaks something to my soul. Perhaps it is how I am amazed by the flora to be found here in the Northwest. ( Wildflowers!! )
She takes what could be a mundane subject and with the use of pattern and color creates something extraordinary. It’s a little bit Pop-Art, a little bit Fauvist, kind of Cubist without the hard edges ( Cone-ist? ).The flowers seem to be underwater, floating in a happy haze of pattern. Or maybe it’s drizzly rain? We ARE in the Northwest..Sometimes it seems that we are seeing the flower’s shadow, rather than the plant itself, looking through the shadow to the play of patterns and light beyond. Which makes the work groovily mysterious.
Susan created a floral series called “Bloom” for a recent Art & Sustainability show at the Sightline Institute in Seattle, integrating technology and traditional painting, posting a mobile tag by each painting providing more insight and information about each work of art. You can see the progress of one of these works and hear Susan speaking about the work here. And because I always personally find these things to be so much darn fun, here’s a time-lapse video of Susan completing a painting. What’s up next for Susan after her technology driven show? Unplugged, artwork created during a one-week period in which artists went without TV, internet, social media and texting. Because great art is always about finding balance.
Be sure to check out Susan Melrath’s website to see more of her work and learn more about the artist.