Gail Severn Gallery

Suzanne Hazlett

  • Universal Solvent Exhibition Statement

    I am inspired by the nuances of texture and light found in nature and in urban environments. All the media I work with come from nature: ground marble, wax, and crystals from the sap of fir trees.  The natural ingredients are more appealing to me than synthetics – I love that they come from the earth. I love the luminous quality of encaustic paintings. Some have an obfuscation to them, like that experienced when enveloped by the mystique of fog.

     

    The layering protocol I undergo to create my paintings is both laborious and blissful. I welcome the solemnity of the process and the subsequent articulation of my vision. I intend the resulting pieces to convey a sense of depth and to offer evidence of their evolution.

     

    Following the ritual of adding and subtracting what may be twenty or thirty layers of color and material, and when I have captured and expressed the essence of that which has inspired me, my paintings arrive at the eventual visual and tactile end of their journey as I arrive at the end of my personal path to convey the evocative quality of water in all its myriad iterations.

     

    In its liquid, vapor or solid form – water is extraordinary. Water holds us in awe with its transformative powers from atmospheric haze to initial droplets of a downpour to glaciated masses. No matter who we are, the same recipe of two atoms of hydrogen to one atom of oxygen is the ratio that makes up the primary component of tears. Regardless of our gender, color, spiritual convictions or political leanings, water is the universal solvent we all share in common.

     

    Water is the source of life, and, as such, holds all of nature in its thrall. It has the power to create, destroy, soothe and inspire. It is the most prosaic and poetic of substances. In my body of work, Universal Solvent, I embrace the serenity and solace offered by ponds, oceans, lagoons and summer rain and the aqueous appeal that invites us to sigh and drift away. Its power and potentially destructive force equally hold me in awe. The flow of water and the evanescence of shifting light and reflection on its surface, have informed both the theme and the creative process in this body of work.

    In Universal Solvent, I have sought to capture the translucence of watercolor and the fluidity of tides, currents and ripples. I have also been influenced by water in its frozen forms of ice and snow and by the glaciers I have climbed with my husband. Water figures prominently in the memories and imaginations of all cultures, and my paintings invite the viewers to bring their own narratives.

     

  • Southern Exposure Statement

    Following the ritual of adding and subtracting what may be twenty or thirty layers of color and material, and when I have captured and expressed the essence of that which has inspired me, my paintings arrive at the eventual visual and tactile end of their journey as well as my personal journey to convey the complex combination of grit and grace that is embodied in the modern Southern Belle.

     

    I have lived most of my life as a Northwesterner, enraptured by the majestic power of the mountainous landscape. For years, my husband and I spent every weekend rock climbing and mountain climbing in the vast wilderness where I became intrigued with the layering and aggregation of the rock formations. My early work reflects the influences of this rugged landscape informed by the masculine hues of the earth.

     

    After spending time with my Georgian daughter-in-law and two decidedly feminine young granddaughters, I have entered a new landscape of delicacy and elegance; I have gained some degree of southern exposure. In so doing, I have come to recognize and admire the self-esteem, discipline and respect at the root of the unapologetically pretty and feminine exterior of the Southern Belle. Through this body of work titled, Southern Exposure, my paintings rejoice in the power of pink, representing in each artwork a distinct female rite of passage. These paintings, like the formidable women and girls who inspired them, display a combination of grit and grace and celebrate the feminine spirit.

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