Susan M. Wadsworth

Susan M. Wadsworth — Artist’s Biography & Statement
Born: Pittsburg, PA | 1955

Studio: Rindge, NH

I was born in Pittsburg, PA in 1955. My parents moved to West Arlington, VT when my father retired, in 1971. They had met in Manchester, VT many years earlier, and our family had always vacationed in Manchester until they bought the farmhouse in West Arlington. The rounded forms in my art often echo these New England hills and mountains. I married David Bourdelais in 1981, and we have three wonderful children who are now grown and are on their own adventures.

I earned my B.A. in art from Colby College in Maine in 1977 with honors: Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude. I attended two graduate schools, earning an M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI in painting in 1981 and a M.A. in art history from Tufts in 1989. My specialty is modern abstraction, both in my own work and in historical analysis. I am usually inspired by the landscapes of the places I live and visit.

I began teaching at Fitchburg State in Massachusetts in 1992, moving to Rindge, NH in 1993. As a professor, I taught studio art and a wide range of art history: from modernism and the history of architecture to Asian art and interdisciplinary courses including some philosophy, music, and even literature. I have presented over three dozen papers and published over one hundred art reviews over 30 years.

In my own drawings, I have always been inspired by landscapes, especially the rolling hills of New England. At first, in the late 1980s, I was inspired by flying over New England, where my small shapes from the earlier 1980s were integrated into broader landscapes. In 1999, I was inspired by the birth of my third child (a daughter) to create “childscapes,” or life from the mother’s point of view.

When my children outgrew the limits of the “childscapes,” I returned to abstracted landscapes inspired by travels to western Europe, Asia, Central American, and North America. After visiting China and Japan in 2015, 2017, and 2019, I began to integrate the use of black ink with my pastels. My works have many layers of pastel which are then outlined in pencil or ink to emphasize the basic shapes, textures, and varying use of line.

I am fascinated by the landscape abstraction of Japanese prints, the Abstract Expressionists (especially Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko), and the work of the Early American Modernists associated with the galleries of Alfred Stieglitz, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Lawren Harris of the Canadian Group of Seven, Emily Carr and others. The simplicity of the forms and layered textures echo the energy and rhythms of daily life. The mood is peaceful but energized.

I have been exhibiting my pastel works broadly throughout New England and upstate NY. In 2008, I organized the Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour in the Monadnock Region, and it continues to this day over Columbus Day weekend, with the exception of cancellation in fall 2020 due to Covid-19.

She joined Gallery Sitka at the very end of 2017.

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