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80 for 80

A Retrospective of the Art of Susan Phelps Pearson

  • Wed, Jun 14, 2017Wed, Jul 12, 2017 Tickets

    No cost for admission to the exhibit or the artist reception. 

Artist Reception: Saturday, June 17 from 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. (refreshments 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.)

Susan Phelps Pearson turns 80 in April of 2017. For this exhibition she has selected 80 of her works for display in the four exhibit rooms at the Heyde Center for the Arts. Pearson has experimented in nearly all the forms of modern art, but the exhibit focuses principally on paintings and assemblages. Most of her paintings are based on her photos of landscapes: scenes that capture the essence of her Wisconsin home (a still winter evening, a riotous fall forest, a sunlit street) or scenes that inspired her during her travels in Scotland, England, France, and the Southwest of the USA.

Throughout her career she has continued to paint, but in the late 60s, she saw massive assemblages at Hall’s in Kansas City and discovered the creativity of using found materials to create art. Even though she was caring for her two young boys and graduate student husband, she started collecting wood and other materials for “found art” works. The materials sometimes became parts of collage/paintings, sometimes works built up on a base of plywood or worn timber. Later, inspired especially by Louise Nevelson, she started using such things as discarded lumber, a broken organ, a piano with a broken sound board, and an Underwood typewriter. As the years have gone along, Pearson has kept on exploring and discovering new options for assemblages. She has made quilts out of soda cans and CDs, necklaces out of keys, underwater scenes out of rusted car parts and soda cans, stand alone, sculptural works out of silo hardware, slabs of oak, soda cans, screws, nuts and washers.

As a child, Pearson’s daily companions were Binney and Smith, the makers of Crayolas. Sitting at the kitchen table drawing and coloring, she developed her love of art. Eventually Pearson graduated from Carleton College with a degree in art and taught art in elementary schools for a few years. Always interested in learning new things, she took courses in silver smithing, ceramics, and printing (woodcut and serigraphy). Two years in Scotland in the late eighties gave her the chance to focus once again on painting. She produced about thirty works some of which were featured in “From Wisconsin to Scotland,” a solo exhibit at the public library in Eau Claire. Since then her paintings and assemblages have received awards at exhibits in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and she has also exhibited in California and Scotland. Her work is in corporate and individual collections.

No cost for admission.