The work of Scottsdale artist Suzie Black recalls the sheer pleasure of childhood; the unrestrained joyous creativity, mingled with a sense of mischief. It does the same for those who witness her artwork.
Even the paint has a personality that celebrates lack of restraint and the absence of self-consciousness. The loose brushstrokes and energetic palette knife work are brought into tow by the strength of her design.
Black’s story reflects the larger scope of those around her and the endless dance of community.
No surprise this gutsy “out there” artist grew up in an 18-room “old mansion” on a busy Newark, New Jersey, street, just minutes from Manhattan.
A daughter of a successful interior designer and painter, Black was used to looking at color, design, interiors and canvases that challenged the edge on contemporary comfort levels. Conversations about art with her mother were part of Black’s earliest memories.
Finally, when she was a high school senior, she found herself “home alone” and made the bold move into her mother’s studio. With brushes in hand and oils spread out on a palette, she went to work on her first canvas. A star was born. Black presented her painting as her final project for senior humanities class. The work was met with such enthusiasm that her parents hung it in their home for the next 30 years as their daughter launched her art career.
After high school, Black was off to George Washington University and the Corcoran School of Art. She earned advanced degrees in art therapy and art education. Her artistic heroes were van Gogh, Schiele, Diebenkorn, Matisse and Gauguin.
Black was fascinated by art therapy and the psychology behind expressing emotions and telling the stories of our “hidden selves” through art. This grew into a 40-year adventure in the exploration of color and form.
“My expansion is here and now in the form of larger works,” she said. “I search for mysterious subject matter to lead the viewer into the painting. I also introduce figures in my work that are not quite realistic think in terms of abstract expressionism.”
All of this is part of Black’s fascination with psychology, the subconscious of the human experience. She thinks in terms of “looking for my wild child and giving her the gift of calm.”
Black is also part of the “study process” as a teacher. She creates from her “artist loft” in her Scottsdale home. She frequently shows her work in venues such as Thunderbird Artists and Hidden in the Hill, sponsored by the Sonoran Arts League.
Her work was the cover art for Vortex magazine, and she received a National Endowment of the Arts grant this past summer at Yeiser Gallery in Paducah, Kentucky. Black teaches art classes and workshops at Terravita in North Scottsdale. To view more of Black’s work, sign up for her classes, visit her studio or contact her at suzieblack.net.