Painting
About Susan
Susan Mahan

Susan Mahan

Welcome to my world. My life is filled with the creation of art, art education, and creative people. There is nothing I would rather do than visit a gallery, a museum, or an artist’s studio. Being at the Pendleton Art Center in downtown Cincinnati fills me with inspiration. Being there is like traveling back in time to the art building in college. The smell of paint and turpentine is in the air and conversations about art and artists, shows and classes, fill the stairwells.  Making and studying art fills my life with joy.

My mixed media process is my own. I combine the three media that I love to work with the most: paint, printmaking and fibers. I paint all of my own fabric with no predictable outcome. I use no commercially printed fabric. Printing fabric is a very spontaneous process. I use colors in a unique way and also overprint blocks of pattern. I have never seen anyone else make collage paintings in this way. I see the finished piece before I begin and work backwards. Sometimes it emerges the way I envisioned it; sometimes it is a complete surprise.

My “green” work is inspired by my love of color and pattern, and, my appreciation of the beautiful catalogs that arrive daily in my mailbox. I love to pour through the paper images and hate to throw them away. About a year ago it occurred to me to incorporate them in my work as additional sources of repeated patterns and levels of color that would be impossible to recreate using only paint. The addition of occasional text is a random bonus. Once in a while a word or phrase finds its way into a painting and that  reinforces the message that I am trying to convey. Sometimes it will inspire a title. The use of these papers serves the purpose of adding color and texture to a painting and supports the composition being developed in a spontaneous way. The flurry of activity that results is a final piece that is active, vibrant and unexpected. I love the fact that I additionally pay homage to the designer who created the patterns of the fashions being advertised and the graphic designers who spend hours putting the images on the pages together. It’s my way of recognizing their work as well as complimenting my own. It is recycling in the best possible way. I hope you enjoy my work.

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