Improv Machine by Susan Sommer, American


Improv Machine by Susan Sommer, American



Susan Sommer was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1950 and grew up in the New York metropolitan area.Sommer’s father was a builder and understood the importance of a strong foundation; he insisted that, for two years during her adolescence, she work for an architect to gain “discipline of the hand” through the technical mastery of mechanical drawing and architectural lettering.

After five years of intense figure study at the Art Students League of New York, and earning a BFA at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, Sommer set up a studio in New York City, painting full time and availing herself of the city’s museums, galleries, and educational institutions, and regularly attending the New York City ballet during the last phase of George Balanchine’s career. During this time Sommer studied with jazz composer, teacher, and philosopher Bob Bianco, who taught her the Schillinger system for musical and artistic comprehension. (Schillinger described the goal of his Mathematical Basis of the Arts to be “to disclose the mechanism of creatorship as it manifests itself in nature and in the arts.”) The nine years Sommer lived in the city she practiced a variety of styles characterized by combinations of the architectonic and the organic.

Sommer moved to the Hudson Valley in 1981, where she has remained deeply inspired by the magnificence of the landscape and where she continues to express this through her paintings. Peter Frank, in one of his essays about the artist wrote “Sommer distills from nature the flow of water, the feel of wind, the verdant colors of leaves, and the gentle coldness of the daytime sky.Perhaps these are the most salient aspects of the nature from which Sommer derives her chief inspiration - the dells and meadows covering the hillsides of the lower Catskills, the flora and fauna and topography amidst where she lives and works.”

The work in Timed Light is a new body of work on her path through the foothills of the Catskill Mountains.

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Susan Sommer

Susan Sommer has been expressing her moods, observations, and insights in painting and drawing. She divides her time and her focus primarily in the Hudson Valley, Manhattan, Los Angeles, and the West Indies. 

Her art has engendered a strong response from viewers including collectors in this country and abroad. Sommer’s painting is in the de Saisset Museum of the University of Santa Clara, California, the Government House on the island of Saint Vincent, and the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.  Her work may also be seen at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, and The Club Quarters in San Francisco, among other public places. She graduated with honors from the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, and studied at the Art Students League with Macabi Greenfield, Nathan Cabot Hale, and Rudolf Baranick.  

Recent Exhibitions:

November, 2016                Progression, Solo Show
                                Oil paintings and gouache on paper
                                Joyce Goldstein Gallery, Chatham, NY

October, 2016                Progression, Solo Show
                                Edward Williams Gallery, Petrocelli College
                                Fairleigh Dickinson College, Hackensack, NJ

March, 2014                        Landscape of Abstraction, Group Show
                                Mark Gruber Gallery, New Paltz, NY

June, 2013                        Gallery Artists X, Group Show
                                Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, NY

May, 2013                        Local Color, Group Show
                                EB’s Hudson Valley Finds, Rhinebeck, NY

Jan/April 2013                Women Artists of the Permanent Collection: 
                                Mid-Nineteenth Century to Present Day
                                Riverside Arts Museum, Riverside, CA

December, 2012                Holiday Show
                                Woodstock Artist Association & Museum

September, 2012                Blue Group Show
                                Saugerties Performing Arts Factory, Saugerties, NY

May/June 2012                The Natural is Personal, Solo Show
                                Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, NY

December 2011                Winter Show, Group Show        
                                Blue Mountain Gallery, New York, NY
August 2011                        Nature Walk, Solo Show                
                                Becket Art Center, Becket, Massachusetts
June 2010                        Tomorrow’s Masters Today                        
                                Albany Institute of History, Albany, NY
April/May 2010                Plein Air Abstraction
                                Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, Woodstock, NY

Her educational background includes five years of intense figure study at the Art Students League of New York, and earning a BFA at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia.   In addition to the above, Sommer has also taken various workshops including developing monotypes with Kathryn Kain, at the Smith Anderson Studios in 2002 and 2003, silk-screen monotypes at the Women’s Studio Workshop with Roni Henning, and block print batik with Dorothy Amenuke at the Women’s Studio Workshop in 2011.

Sommer’s paintings have been awarded distinction in the following  juried competitions,  
Blue Sound, oil on linen, 26 1/2 x 36 as part of the Tomorrow’s Masters Today 2010 Gala at the Albany Institute of History & Art.

Study in Red Ribbons, oil on canvas board, 5 each 8 x 6 inches 2004 Juried Members Exhibition at the Art Students League of new York in 2004
Time Machine, oil on linen, 24 x 36 inches, selected as winner of the Special Guest Judge Award by Edwin Schlossberg in 2004 at the National Arts Club On-Line Exhibition in 2004.

In 2007 based on a conversation with Sommer, art critic and curator, Peter Frank organized a show at the Riverside Art Museum in Riverside, California entitled Plein Air Abstraction in which Sommer’s painting was featured with that of several other artists.  

In conjunction with this title, Sommer produced a book entitled Plein Air Abstraction at the Foothills of the Catskill Mountain, in which she discusses how her work has been influenced  by painting outdoors.  She followed this publication in 2014 with a monograph entitled Progression, in which she includes paintings particularly inspired by the Monarch butterfly.