Susan Makov will be giving a gallery talk from 3:30-4pm.
“No one sees trees. We see fruit, we see nuts, we see wood, we see shade. We see ornaments or pretty fall foliage. Obstacles blocking the road or wrecking the ski slope. Dark, threatening places that must be cleared. We see branches about to crush our roof. We see a cash crop. But trees—trees are invisible.” - Richard Powers, The Overstory
Some personal interests are known to us our entire lives. Other interests take an entire life before we truly understand our passions. Until moving west from New York in 1977, my life’s chapters in art reflected formal design. Since then, I have explored the land of the west, its history, and its form. A 1988 artist’s residency at Ucross, Wyoming renewed my excitement about painting.
My recent paintings embrace observation, elements of photography and digital assemblage, with an intuitive appreciation for the natural world. Photography has been my visual note taking. Working this way through woodcuts and paint, I respond to the land’s formal beauty, a joyful way of discovering various aspects of the world. What excites me the most are the textures and patterns of the forests. Many stands of trees create intriguing patterns that are reminiscent of calligraphy. For me, they create a kind of language, realizing that the communities of trees are not silent.
Most recently, I found forests in distress. The forests are responding to drought, pollution and environmental issues that are not always obvious.
My interests concern making the details of shrinking forests visible. My work explores unexpected discoveries. The smallest elements of the forest reflect drastic changes in climate. Sometimes the trees celebrate their own existence and overcome challenges. Or a forest might reflect pressures from outside. Increasing fires and insect damage, floods and droughts devastate acres of forests. All are detectable with the visible eye.
A community of trees may be older than any made by humans. Recent discoveries find that trees communicate with each other. My paintings reflect how trees communicate with me.