As the Salzburg Festival commences in earnest this week, Susan Swartz has made the trek from her studio on the sea in Martha’s Vineyard to the mountains of Austria. Traveling to Salzburg to celebrate the beginning of the Festival and the continuation of her exhibition, A Personal Path, Susan’s journey is in many ways representative of the breadth of her collection. From the waves that lap at the shores of Massachusetts to the winds that blow across the forested peaks of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, Susan is a master of depicting scenes of great beauty from both settings.
Take, for instance, Festival of Color, which seemingly celebrates the energy, light and whimsy of a day on the shore. Here Susan captures a moment so many of us know; looking at the painting you can almost feel the sun on your face and hear the tide rolling in, the foamy edge of the water sneaking toward your toes. Turn then to Moonlit Moment and feel the warm evening breeze passing through the trees all around you, hear the leaves whispering and the bright chirp of crickets, see the fireflies blinking.
It’s no wonder Susan’s work has been welcomed in Salzburg, where majestic mountain peaks surround the city, and crystal clear lakes invite visitors to bask for hours on end. It’s no surprise so many patrons feel a personal connection to her paintings; though many of her pieces are abstract, they so elegantly capture not just the scenery but also the elements of nature that you can’t help but feel immersed in the world of the canvas before you.
It is this connection between memory and imagination that makes viewing Susan’s work a truly spiritual experience; her paintings awaken not only the mind, but also the soul. The great triumph of A Personal Path as an exhibition is that it brings together additional elements, both cerebral and spiritual. At the heart of the University of Salzburg, the Kollegienkirche is a seat of education as well as worship.
The white walls of this splendid church are, in their own way, a blank canvas on which Susan’s paintings will reside for another two weeks. With the addition of masterful musical performances in the space, thanks to the Salzburg Festival, the potential for divine inspiration and personal reflection is at an all time high. From the sea to the mountains and back again, Susan takes her patrons on the journey with her, inviting everyone to pause and remember a time when life was simpler, or to imagine a place where harmony reigns.
A Personal Path remains open until August 5, 2014 at the Kollegienkirche in Salzburg, Austria.