The guy in the psychedelic shirt seems at home in this version of the Central District’s Spring Street, where the double stairs, the empty garage and the nearby houses are “folded over, turned round.” Like the poet’s blue guitar, “things as they are /Are changed” when art happens: tourists will look in vain for this version in any real world. The painter hopes that her audience will enjoy these fictional spaces, explore them with “clandestine steps upon imagined stairs.”
Mid-20th c., Jean DuBuffet declared that only artists uncompromised by the dominant culture were free of its nefarious influence. “Art brut” or “raw art” by painters expressing themselves without formal training was “authentic.” Later in the 1970s, “outsider art,” work produced without the blessing of “high culture,” was thought to be part of a “modern” movement challenging traditional values.
A Thing Apart (36”x38,” 2015) is making its first appearance in public today. It has been lingering about the studio for some time past the date when its “real” version disappeared and construction of a new, four unit condominium replaced it at the corner of 17th Ave. and East Marion St. in Seattle’s Central District. The opposite end of this doomed house behind the already X’d wall inspired a still earlier work, Purple Couch (2013).
Fortunately sueperry-paintings is a path selected by few; otherwise its proprietor would need feel even more reprehensible for its neglect since March 2015 when the last post was made. Be that as it may, it’s time to put regrets aside. As a way of re-establishing a foothold in the present, she thinks (on this snowy day in Seattle) to step back and review the Xmas cards familiar to many readers as illustrated Holiday Greetings from Sue and John in the years 2015-2017:
“this ‘hoard Of destructions,’ a picture of ourselves”
Wallace Stevens, The Man With The Blue Guitar
Blue Apollo began in Harlem during a month-long stay September 1998 at a (not “the”) Chelsea hotel, whence I could begin research for a series of New York paintings while also visiting museums at leisure. We’d just emerged from the Studio Museum, down the street from the Apollo Theatre, when the blue man in white moon boots stepped in front of my camera. Other figures in the painting, the man with the yellow umbrella, the guy with the horizontal stripes on his chest, the two women in the right corner, were found nearby. Unfortunately, no finally satisfactory photographed material showed up for the left corner but I “completed” the painting anyway, and since our grandson Jesse liked it, the work accompanied him as he moved about Seattle, hanging it on various walls as his career and family life changed and grew.
The two months in Paris this year yielded six new Seattle paintings now in process and still in the studio. This strange spread of paint over the globe began last year, 2012. The results of that initial effort can be seen at the Sisko Gallery beginning January 2, 2014, where John Sisko, its proprietor, is hanging an exhibit titled “Seattle: Changing Times.” It focuses on my work dated 1998 and 2012/13 and is therefore a backward look with a gap omitting the Paris years.
Traffic Cookie, oil on canvas, 28 x 40 inches, copyright 2012
Lighthouse Gospel, oil on canvas, 28 x 38 inches, copyright 2012
Traffic Cookie and Lighthouse Gospel were completed a year ago for a show at Sisko Gallery in Seattle September 2012. (And may still be viewed there, on request!) Both were inspired by Seattle’s Central District, where I live and like to take daily walks with my husband. In each case, I was attracted by a compositional element that seemed to provoke the spread of paint: the white wall which occupies the middle of Lighthouse Gospel, the line of “garage” rectangles that march toward the center of Traffic Cookie. Something in these things caused the virtual tubes of paint that have come to inhabit my mind to hover about, heat up and hum.