The art of Susan Brownell is neither realistic nor abstract. It occurs at the intersection of the two modes. Island Views, an exhibition of her recent paintings on view at SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, must be widely interpreted as the following writing explains.
Susan lives in a spectacular location, on an island off the Washington coast. She is constantly immersed in vistas of sea and forest. It is largely this immersion which she duplicates in creating the large scale of her paintings. She also uses some visual cues to barns,sea life,fields, and the fir trees which are her surroundings. However, she works away from strict realism, towards a distillation of the essence of her island habitat, as it occurs uniquely to her. As such her paintings are referenced to nature, but are pure individual invention.
Furthermore much of the focus of these paintings has nothing to do with islands or views. The artist's main involvement is with the paint itself. The nature of paint, with its' fluidity, its’ spots and splatters and blots is tracked and recorded relentlessly by the artist. She is moved by the flow of paint and it remains the the real focus of these paintings.
The artist has no interest in duplicating natural color. She is sensitive instead to the mystic spirit animating the land and sea surrounding her and seeks to feel and express it.