Susan Abbott was born in Takoma Park, Maryland, and grew up in this Victorian suburb of Washington, DC. Her parents met as labor organizers in the 1930’s, and they continued to be active in social and environmental causes throughout their lives. Because her father was an artist and graphic designer, there were many art books and supplies at home and Abbott was drawing and painting from an early age. Her mother was a skilled seamstress and taught her to sew, knit and embroider. These hand crafts and time outdoors exploring the creeks and woods in her neighborhood were favorite childhood activities that have informed her work as an artist. Abbott began her formal art studies at fourteen, studying life drawing in the summers under the famed professor Robert D’Arista at American University. She dropped out of high school to begin full time studies at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, which she selected for its rigorous painting program. At MICA, Abbott focused on figure painting and plein air landscape with Israel Hershberg. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and two years later received a MFA degree from the Institute’s Hoffberger School of Painting, working with renowned abstract painter Grace Hartigan as her advisor. She went on to study printmaking in the graduate program at the University of Iowa under the master intaglio artist Mauricio Lasansky. Susan Abbott has been working as a professional artist since that time, exhibiting in galleries and museums around the country. Her still life and landscapes have been featured at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Museum of Technology, Hood College, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Her painting was included in the show “Objects of Personal Significance”, which toured museums around the United States. She has been a recipient of a Maryland Art Council “Individual Artist Award” and a Vermont Arts Council “Creation Grant”. In 2009 she was one of ten a
Growing up in Washington, DC, I had an early love of drawing encouraged by my artist father and for textile crafts learned from my mother, as well as many happy hours exploring neighborhood woods and streams. These childhood activities gave me a connection to hand craft and nature that have stayed with me and informed my work as a painter. In my eagerness to begin my art education I dropped out of high school to attend the Maryland Institute, College of Art, where I received a BFA and MFA. I’ve been working as a professional artist since that time, exhibiting in galleries and museums around the country and teaching art workshops around the world. I moved to Vermont twenty-five years ago for the most impractical of reasons, love at first sight. I’m still attracted to all the ordinary things I see around me here–houses, barns, trucks, fields, mountains—and how they are made magical by ever-changing light and seasons. When I paint in my studio from the references I gather on-site, invented colors and shapes take over and combine with my memory of the subject to create something completely new. My hope is that the paintings that result from this alchemy of the real and abstract communicate to the viewer something of my deep love for the familiar yet mysterious landscape of Vermont. Susan Abbott
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