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Spotlight Gallery
SUSAN SPANIOL: “EVENT AT HERRING COVE”
Artist’s Statement

My art is a visual ode to the elemental forces of nature. I choose the modality of drawing to represent nature’s dynamics because it is one of the most natural means of human expression, as natural as ‘drawing a breath.’ Like breathing, drawing is spontaneous, immediate and direct—driven by instincts we cannot fully control. Although most of my art works appear abstract, they are inspired by direct observations of the natural world.
 The works in this show were inspired by an encounter with the battered carcass of a whale thrust on a Cape Cod beach by winds and waves. The sky was steely grey and the ocean became tinged with pink as marine biologists dissected the giant mammal to determine its cause of death. Throughout the day, small groups of people arrived and left in silence—like participants in a silent and holy vigil. I returned to my studio, compelled to give visual expression to my sense of awe. I began by making random marks with charcoal, then reinforced lines and shapes that resonated with the event. To give life to these forms, I elaborated them with the intense colors of pastels. As I continued to work spontaneously, a luminous winged shape emerged and then recurred. In time, I realized that this shape had become a visual metaphor for the spirit of the whale. Satisfied, I finally felt a sense of closure.
I have exhibited widely in national exhibitions. In addition to my membership in the Canton Artists’ Guild, I am an ‘Elected Artist’ of the Connecticut Women’s Art Association and the West Hartford Art League, where I have received “Best in Show Award,” “Third Prize,” and “Drawing Prize.” My most recent award was “Best in Show” at the Golden Thread Gallery, West Hartford. Past solo exhibitions include the Clare Gallery in Hartford, the Downtown Gallery in New Britain, and the Noah Webster Library in West Hartford.
An educator and art therapist as well as an artist, I am a former Professor and Coordinator of the Art Therapy Program at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. I currently teach in the Visual and Performing Arts Department of Springfield College.
Contact: sspaniol@comcast.net, Website: SusanSpaniolStudios.com