Blog

The news of artist, environmental activist, documentary film producer and philanthropist Susan Swartz.

Susan Swartz Descending Into a Rich Mash

With daylight savings suddenly behind us, the days of growing darkness are here. The paradox of light and shadow brings necessary balance, and not only in a painting. As an artist, Susan embraces this darkness as a ballast for the brightness of spring. And, she knows that in any season, the natural world offers both beauty and terror, both life and death, both light and dark, all combined in a rich mash. 

In this season of change, Susan is struck by the words of poet Mary Oliver:

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Susan Swartz Featured in Park City Magazine

Susan Swartz in her Park City studio. 

"For Susan Swartz's many fans in Park City, it has been thrilling to watch her heady ascent from local artist in the early 1990s to national and international star..." Thus begins Park City Magazine's feature of Susan in their Summer/Fall 2013 issue just out today. Written by Wendy Lavitt, "True Colors" details much of Susan's artistic journey since moving to Utah.

Read the complete article ›

Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant Guard

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Beloved ('The Bride') 1865-6

With her recent solo show at the Belgravia Gallery, Susan had the pleasure of spending a lot of time in London over the past year. London has many charms, but perhaps Susan’s favorite experience was viewing the Pre-Raphaelite exhibit at the Tate, London. She liked it so much, that she has just revisited these amazing works at the US stop in the exhibition tour at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Coinciding with the reign of Queen Victoria (roughly 1840-1900), the Pre-Raphaelite art movement was a self-aware, fairly radical group dedicated to overturning artistic orthodoxies. As a whole, this group of artists felt that art in their time had become decadent and instead favored the bright colors and truth to nature found in art before the time of game-changing Italian painter, Raphael (pre-1480s). Boldly original in style and conception, the Pre-Raphaelites made a profound contribution on the history of modern art.

Untitled 020 58×84

As a classically trained painter, Susan had certainly been exposed to the Pre-Raphaelites, but the Tate exhibition presented them in a new light, as an avant-garde movement. She was especially moved by the vivid natural imagery that appears in Pre-Raphaelite subjects, and by the art movement’s process of intensely looking at nature, which resulted in a new, distinctively modern style.

As Susan’s own painting career evolves into an increasingly abstract style, she has developed her own novel and precise method of transcribing the natural world around her and transmuting her own deeply personal interactions with that world.

When her time in London drew to a close, Susan brought home a valuable souvenir: the inspiration of the Pre-Raphaelite’s dramatically original response to nature and the singular intensity of their vision. Susan has imbued her most recent work, like Untitled 020 and the Landscape of Resonances Series, with this same spirit of rule-breaking originality.

Missed the exhibit at the Tate or The National Gallery of Art? The Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant Guard will be on display at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow from June 10 – September 30, 2013.

 

“Women’s Rights in a Man’s World” – Harvard Divinity School Panel Discussion

Susan was honored to support the Divinity School at Harvard University by sponsoring the February 28th panel about the barriers facing women hoping to work within Shari’a law courts. Titled “Women’s Rights in a Man’s World,” the panel featured Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first female judge in a Palestinian Shari’a court, as well as several other notable female law leaders.

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Join Susan Swartz in Discovering the Secrets of Health with Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Mark Hyman

As residents of one of the healthiest counties in the nation, it can be easy for Susan’s Park City neighbors to forget that a true health crisis — an epidemic of obesity and related diseases is rolling across the nation. But, as someone who has struggled for years with the effects of chronic illness, Susan places enormous weight and value on holistic health.

Which is why she is especially excited to announce a joint venture between the Christian Center of Park City, Jewish Family Services, The People’s Health Clinic, and Intermountain to host a talk with bestselling author and international speaker, Dr. Mark Hyman. Susan hopes that you will join her on Wednesday, March 6, starting at 7:00pm at Temple Har Shalom in Park City for Dr. Hyman’s talk entitled "Expand Your Brain, Shrink Your Belly: The Secrets to Boosting Your Brain Power and Losing Fat and Staying Healthy For Life."

Dr. Hyman is the pioneer of an advancing field called functional medicine which views the human body as an integrated system and looks to identify and address the root causes of disease — not just treat the symptoms. This family physician and four-time New York Times bestseller will focus his upcoming talk on chronic disease prevention through nutrition, diet and exercise.

The Details

Who: Dr. Mark Hyman
 Where: Temple Har Shalom, 3700 N. Brookside Court, Park City, UT 84060
 When: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 7:00pm
 How: RSVP via Facebook

Susan Swartz and the One World We All Belong To

Just like Susan, Mary Oliver has dedicated most of her career to the environment. The American poet and recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize turns towards nature for inspiration and describes the sense of wonder it instills in her. “When it’s over,” she says, “I want to say: all my life / I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” (“When Death Comes” from New and Selected Poems (1992).)

This month, the 77-year old Oliver released her newest book of poetry entitled A Thousand Mornings. In a recent interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin, Oliver says her work has become more spiritual over the years — but she feels a great sorrow over humanity’s lack of care for that world. “The woods that I loved as a child are entirely gone. The woods that I loved as a young adult are gone. The woods that most recently I walked in are not gone, but they’re full of bicycle trails,” she says.

All of the pieces in A Thousand Mornings are lovely, but Susan is particularly drawn to these resonant words:

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The Essence of a Breath: Susan Swartz Opening Today at Belgravia Gallery

Susan’s solo exhibitionBREATH OF NATURE, has just opened at London’s Belgravia Gallery. The paintings included in the show mark a turning point in Susan’s artistic vision towards an increasingly abstract—and increasingly urgent yet hopeful — painting style. Perhaps no painting illustrates this change more clearly than the title work Breathless.

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Forward to Susan Swartz Belgravia Catalogue by Oceanic Preservation Society's Louie Psihoyos

As an artist, Susan spent years painting the grandeur and serenity of the natural world. When she became desperately ill with environmentally-bred diseases, Susan saw the fragility of nature. So too for me. As a photographer for National Geographic I was able to catalogue the beauty of our planet for two decades. As a diver for that same period of time, I was able to bear witness to its degradation.

It is from this perspective that I, along with a close group of like-minded activists, formed the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS). Nobody could have predicted the success of our first endeavor, the Academy Awardâ winning film The Cove, but there was never any question of its importance. Susan saw the truth in our story right away, and became a champion of OPS and a supporter of our films.

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Autumn Movement by Carl Sandburg

Hidden Forest
72 x 48

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper
sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.
The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes,
new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind,
and the old things go, not one lasts.
— Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)