Nature's Mirage Series

Artist Susan Swartz has been depicting nature for most of her career, her style evolving from impressionism, to expressionism, to an increasingly bold and abstract place. Even as her style has progressed, so too has Swartz’s relationship with her subject matter. “My lifetime of work has been a progressive commentary on the natural world,” she says.

The paintings in the Nature's Mirage series are inspired by a view of the earth from above. In the course of flying to and from various locations around the world, Swartz has been privileged to see a great deal of the earth’s landscape from an aerial point of view. The geometric patterns are unlike anything else, there is no substitute for a glimpse of rolling fields with rivers embedded, framed by jagged mountains and expansive lakes. These paintings are an interpretation of these moments — the colors, the shadows and the textures seen from so far away.

In these smaller scale, acrylic-on-linen paintings, forests are fractured and the boundless sky is broken. The effect is kaleidoscopic—both brilliant and dizzying. Take Nature’s Mirage 4, in which the pull of Swartz’s paint brush splices organic forms into dangerously sharp fragments of color. Or, Nature’s Mirage 8, which gives the mesmerizing impression of looking at sunlight refracted into its component colors.

The Nature’s Mirage Series—which counts ten paintings to-date—portrays a natural world that isn’t always what it seems. The richness and beauty of an autumn mountainside or a summer sky are evident in Swartz’s works, but so is something else, a geometric flipside lurking beneath the textural undertones. Complex and nuanced, this growing series carries Swartz’s hopes for the intelligent stewardship of the natural world.