Hirschl & Adler Modern is pleased to announce the opening of Susan Van Campen: New Watercolors on Thursday, June 6, 2013. The artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery will run through July 9 and will feature over 20 new paintings in watercolor, displaying the artist’s ongoing exploration of the landscape and still life genres.
Both artist and naturalist, Susan Van Campen draws her inspiration from the world out of doors – from the sloping fields unfolding outside her window and from the shapes and shades of the flowers that she herself has tended. Nature is her subject and she is keenly aware that it is fleeting and ever-changing. “I like to paint what I see that strikes me at the moment. Things that don’t last long…a dandelion, an open tulip before the petals fall off, a poppy before it bursts,” she has mused. The resulting still lifes are as much studies in motion as they are botanic portraits, with stems bending and buds twisting, as if in a dance with one another. In Bouquet, Late Fall that dance is in full evidence, as delicate leaves curl and stretch forth from their vase. Richly colorful buds exist in multiple states, some bursting open and others slowly closing. They live and move through Van Campen’s brush, though perhaps only for an instant.
Despite this implied spontaneity, Van Campen’s still lifes are precise, deliberate and carefully rendered. She presents bold, vibrant blooms against spare white grounds, creating ambiguous perspectives and spatial relationships that result in refreshingly modern compositions. Her sparse backgrounds also serve to enhance the effects of color, texture and natural design of her floral subjects, as she carefully balances painted and negative space.
This exhibition will also feature Van Campen’s intimate landscapes. Unlike her more defined still lifes, Van Campen’s landscapes are loose and verge on abstraction. These meditative works are marked by wide swaths of color and sweeping forms that seem to glide across the page. Completed en plein air, these watercolors capture the freedom of the countryside they represent. The ease and openness of Van Campen’s landscapes harmoniously complement the quietude and restraint of her still lifes. When paired, these two subjects demonstrate the artist’s depth of talent and mastery of the watercolor medium.
Van Campen lives and works in Maine. She received her B.F.A from the Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, and her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Her works can be found in several museum collections including the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, Maine, and the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia. Public collections include the Federal Reserve Bank, Washington DC and the Reader’s Digest Association, New York, among others.