Arts & Leisure

Northern Daughters shows new work by Susanne Strater

'FAMILY,' BY SUSANNE Strater

Northern Daughters is excited to present “Poppy Garden,” a solo exhibit of new work from Susanne Strater. The exhibition is on view by appointment at the gallery’s 221 Main Street location in Vergennes through June 30.
Like the garden Strater sat beside when making this body of work, you really have to see these artworks in person to take in all they have to offer. The foundation of each piece is a pen and ink drawing of a garden filled with poppies, and Strater’s quiet observation of their lifecycle. From there, she has built a world through collage that allows the viewer to savor the layers, patterns and overlapping growth of a flourishing garden.
“Poppy Garden” exhibits an entirely new kind of work from Strater. Audiences may be more familiar with her patchwork cityscapes with abstracted perspectives and lush color. With “Poppy Garden” she limits her color palette to almost completely blue and white to invite the viewer to seek the patterns of growth, shapes of petals and leaves and the relationships between the plants instead of relying on the pop of vivid colors we all enjoy so much in early summer.
The work for this exhibit began last spring while Strater observed her garden and filled her sketchbook with ink drawings of her beloved flowers. 
“While the inked line was satisfying, the overall pieces seemed too static or screen-like, and not at all how it felt to be sitting in the garden among all those flowers fluttering above their chaos of leaves. So somehow the idea of drawing over the drawings happened. This felt like a more accurate expression of how a garden grows and how we experience it,” she explained.
She then used collage to delve into the intersections where drawing layers overlapped: “The intersections gave me an opportunity for abstraction or ambiguity, and helped me concentrate on the distribution of color and value,” Susanne said. 
“The effect is that nothing is consistently in front or behind — it’s sort of woven,” gallerist Justine Jackson observed. “It creates this beautiful movement within the work, a liveliness, and makes me believe the plants have the ability to be moved, perhaps by the viewer’s eye as it travels across the work. There’s some magic there.”
Northern Daughters is open by appointment. Contact [email protected] or (802) 877-2173 to schedule a visit or more information.

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