Art in the Lobby: Bearing Witness

Bearing Witness
Susan Hellewell | a solo exhibition
July 27 -September 4

Artist Statement

Although not formally trained as a painter, I have enjoyed painting for relaxation and visual pleasure since childhood. My paintings combine the transparency usually achieved with watercolor and the dance like quality of Chinese calligraphy. Earlier abstract pattern paintings were more in the color field tradition.

These paintings represent a continued effort to practice developing more literal images, backgrounds and landscapes. As a newly retired science teacher I have been more attuned to world news this year, which has had an effect. The transparent layers in the Aleppo and Exodus series reflect the superimposed media images of unimaginable suffering in the world which we carry in our hearts and minds, juxtaposed to the reality of our (by comparison) seemingly tranquil lives which carry on moving forward.

Dancer and swimmer images are drawn from New York Times dance review photographs. Years ago a friend sent me a card of a quilt “Sikiel: Angel of the Sirocco” by Lura Schwarz Smith, which was inspiration for the format of the Aleppo paintings, as well as Associated Press internet images. Exodus series was inspired by PBS Frontline documentary “Exodus.”