SUSAN MALLORY SHERMAN
A Place For Memories
June 29 - July 30
A summer showing of paintings honoring memory and the visceral power of place. Settings range from the Adirondack Mountain region of upstate New York to the coasts of New England and Scotland.
If I had known my reaction when I visited Susan’s studio, I might have visited earlier. Walking up her darkwooded stairwell was already inviting; entering her space smelled sweetly of wood and other earthy delights. There were several small vases of peonies on tables and windowsills and Susan’s paintings were hanging or leaning on nearly every inch of wall space. I was overcome with a sense of belonging. Having grown up in the hills and woods of rural Mohawk Valley in the shadow of the Adirondacks, I felt an ache in my stomach surrounded by her forest and stream scenes and was a kid again exploring and playing pretend games, feeling the insular protection of the woods, running barefoot on beds of pine needles..knowing the feeling that this home and fantasy was something I didn’t have to leave anytime soon, at that time, at least except for dinner and maybe the school bus. Snakes, salamanders, moss, wood sorrel at the stream below the ravine invited the building of dams, tree forts and fairy homes with no other context but the open world of imagination and play. And it was quiet. Sometimes we forget about that now. When the slam of a door now pierces me in the chest when I’m nearly asleep, I remember this. My body remembers that I am a private person. That each of us is a private person with our own voice in relation to the rest of the entire universe.
Anyway, I never really left...and am now part of a very benevolent witnessing and protection program.
Within Susan Mallory Sherman’s main theme of memory relevant to place are other theme currents, including one inspired by the Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo. Susan has expressed being moved to recognize fallen and deadened trees as spirits, as Daphnes symbolically surviving the aggressive tracking and near certain defiling by the pursuer Apollo. These adopted fallen trees and branches are the focus of several of Susan’s paintings.
Among the works supporting this scene are large vistas of visibly cool streams and forest backdrops dappled with light as well as seascapes, beginning in Scotland and traveling to Rhode Island and Northern Massachusetts shores, places where the artist has explored and lived other lives. These are set looking out or across to the sea. It is the rocks, though, who are the stars. A would-be geologist with a degree in archaeology, Susan has made the rock formations, some with tide pools, the focal feature. They are rockscapes.
Within this entire grouping, there is very little but significant human presence and these few might be thought of as witnesses to the hardened symbols of rock and limb, and to an infinite flow and force of water; the symbols themselves as reminders of those places we’ve been, as other people, in other other times.
More about the artist and her current showing at honeyjones follows below, including video, Artist biography and statement, and events attended by people, some from other times..
For a complete and detailed list of artwork (including pricing) or to inquire about a specific painting, please contact email@example.com
Susan Mallory Sherman uses intensive drawing and plein-air notations as the basis of oil paintings that are re-imagined and finished in the studio.
She has always painted. As a young person, she studied with Ed Connolly and Richard Grosvenor in Newport, Rhode Island and later attended the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating with a BFA in 1974. In 1972, she studied at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, Scotland. In 2002, she completed a master’s degree in archeology from Harvard University. Susan also worked in children’s book publishing from 1977 to 2018 in the roles of art director and book designer at Charlesbridge Publishing, Houghton Mifflin, and Little, Brown and Company, as well as running her own graphic design business. She has taught workshops at RISD, Maine College of Art, and at SCBWI conferences around the world.
Susan has had two solo painting shows at Maud Morgan Arts Center in Cambridge and has participated in group shows in New York and Massachusetts.
I paint intuitively, basing each work on a particular place and moment in time. However, as the work evolves over time in the studio, each picture accumulates layers of stories; the stories we tell ourselves as we work, the stories of the place at other times, as well as all the stories that live outside of the studio. For example, in my paintings of fallen trees I have been thinking about dryads, the animating spirits of trees, of whom Daphne is perhaps the most famous. What was that long life as a tree like? What happens to the Daphne-spirit when the tree falls and dies? How does the story of Apollo and Daphne resonate as we face the turmoil of our times? My job as a painter is to weave those story layers into color and space that can become places for new memories.
Susan Mallory Sherman