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Suzanne Stryk : Twelve Conceptual Nature Drawings

Conceptual Nature Drawings by Suzanne StrykSuzanne Stryk was born in Chicago and grew up in the prairie state of Illinois, where as a child she’d hide in tall grasses pretending to be Meriwether Lewis observing a new bird or bug.  In 1986 she left the Midwest to settle with her husband and son in the “salamander capitol of the world,” southwest Virginia.  Without knowing she had connections to the city, a Virginia curator once said her art seemed Chicagoan—strongly figurative with a touch of surrealism—and she’s been puzzling about that recognition ever since, wondering how place roots itself in the psyche.  

Since 1990 Suzanne’s shown her conceptual nature paintings in over 40 solo exhibits throughout the country.  Her installation Genomes and Daily Observations was exhibited in 2007 at the Morris Museum of Art (Georgia), and later that year she showed a new series of paintings, Green Evolution, at the United States Botanic Garden Gallery (Washington, D.C.).   Her images have appeared in numerous publications, including Art Papers, New American Paintings, and Writing the Future: Progress and Evolution (MIT Press), with full portfolios in Orion, Shenandoah, and Ecotone.  

Suzanne StrykA number of her paintings have been acquired by permanent collections, encouraging her to feel that “if the world as we know it continues, a few of my images might be there for those who care.”   These venues vary from The Art Museum of Western Virginia and The Tennessee State Museum to the National Academy of Science (Washington, D.C.).  The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum recently added one of Suzanne’s paintings to its Art and Flight collection.  “It’s nice to think my homage to bird flight is nestled beside all those metal flying machines,” says the artist, “reminding people the invention of flight was long before us.” 

In 2005 the William King Regional Art Center, an affiliate of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, organized her mid-career survey—Second Nature: The Art of Suzanne Stryk.  “This was a milestone in my life.  Preparing for it made me aware of my own evolution as an artist,” she states, “and helped me discover my own natural history.”  Beginning with her gouache painting Prairie Cycle from the early 1990s, the exhibit was brought up to the moment with the sculpted nest and bird in Little Wing (2005).  It even had one slightly surreal painting of a salamander.

Conceptual Nature Drawings by Suzanne StrykSuzanne’s ARTerrain portfolio is a new series of drawings using freely applied plant stains (made from walnuts and coffee) along with acrylic and pencil for the details of animals.  “I see the drawings as a dialogue—as in life itself—between the overwhelming tangle of life and the crisp, if fragmentary, vision emerging from it.”   These works include creatures found around the artist’s home turf in the Blue Ridge Mountain region.  “Among all the chaos of leafy growth I might discover a warbler, snail, or a salamander, and for a brief moment our lives intersect,” she says. “That’s a magical moment for me.” 

For more information on the artist, visit www.SuzanneStryk.com.


Twelve conceptual nature drawings by Suzanne Stryk

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All images and titles in this ARTerrain Gallery are copyright © by Suzanne Stryk. All rights reserved. No work may be used or reproduced without express written consent of the artist.



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