Susan Barrett

Artist's Biography

      I was born in New York City and moved to the Hudson Valley as a child.  I have lived in one or the other for most of my life. My environment—both man-made and natural—has been a profound part of my visual collective memory. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the  ephemeral perception of the world and representing that experience in both  physical and  psychological terms. I did my undergraduate work at Rhode Island School of Design and New York University. I have a M.A. in fine arts from Hunter College.  I have studied with Don Eddy, David Brisson, Robert Swain, Ron Gorchov, Lynda Benglis, Lorraine Chemish, among others.  At Hunter C.U.N.Y., I interviewed Chuck Close at length and wrote Aspects and Ambiguities of Contemporary Realism, (thesis M.A., originally published by City University of New York Hunter College, New York NY.)

     I consider myself a representational artist rather than a realist.  I am captivated by seemingly disparate artists and styles—Vermeer, Max  Ernst, Edward Hopper, James Rosenquist, for example. I am constantly exploring how the ordinary can be transformed through light and juxtaposition.  I work in drawings, collages, paintings of collages and any combination that allows me to explore the possibilities of my imagery.

     When living and showing in New York City, I worked as a graphic designer in both advertising and publishing.  I later returned to the Hudson Valley, where I continued making and showing art and have pursued teaching for over twenty years at a variety of schools and art centers. I have exhibited in numerous galleries and institutions in  NYC and throughout Westchester and my work appears in many private collections.


Rhode Island School of Design, Providence R.I.   
New York University, New York, NY;   B.S. cum laude in fine arts
Hunter College, New York, NY; M.A.; Fine Arts, painting concentration
Pace University, Advanced Certificate  in Art Education.


Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts, New York, NY
School of Visual Arts, New York, NY; Portfolio Development Program
New York University Artist Apprentice Program; H.N. Han artist mentor
New York University Graduate Extension Program; Don Eddy artist mentor

Aspects and Ambiguities of Contemporary Realism, Thesis (M.A.)--City University of New York Hunter College, 1984. Originally published: New York (N.Y.) : City University of New York, Hunter College, 1984. Interview with Chuck Close annotated in appendix.




2015 Martin Stankiewicz Gallery, Tarrytown NY
2009 Hennesey House, Tarrytown NY
2005 Fitzgerald Gallery, Tarrytown NY
2003 Fitzgerald Gallery, Tarrytown NY
1996 Scarborough Gallery, Chappaqua NY .  Press: This week in Westchester, Sunday NY Times, Feb. 18, 1996
1995 Fitzgerald Gallery, Tarrytown. Press:  NY  Our Town, Things to see Gannett Newspapers

1993 Scarborough Gallery, Chappaqua NY

1986 Inroads Gallery, New York NY
1984 Inroads Gallery, New York NY
1982 Broome St. Gallery, New York NY


2018 Riverarts Studio Tour 2018
2018 Union Arts Center, Sparkhill, NY​​
2016-17 Edward Hopper House Art Center, Small Matters of Great Importance: PAPER+ART

 Annual Juried Small Works Show.  Juror: Michelle Donnelly, Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

2016 Ceres Gallery, 12th Annual Juried Exhibition, New York, NY.  Juror Carmen del Valle Hermo Assistant Curator for       Collections at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY.
Press:   Facebook Visual Arts Events NY/L.I. 

2005 Red Wing Gallery, Tarrytown NY

1999 Pelham Art Center, Pelham NY

1984 Inroads Gallery, New York NY. Gallery artists
1986 Inroads Gallery, New York NY.Gallery artists
1983 Hunter College Gallery, New York NY

1981 Organization of Independent Artists, New York NY

1980 Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, Brooklyn NY.
1980 Washington Square East Galleries, New York NY


​​  (and registry)



Art Workshops, Extension Programs & Art Education for children and adults.

Pelham Art Ceneter

Intervillage Art Workshop:  Portchester, Hastings, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry, Scarsdale

Westchester Public Library Systems

Public Schools, tenured: 1999-present

Curriculum Design, Project Development, Interdisciplinary Curricula, Grant Writing, Differentiation for Special Needs

Art Appreciation:  Historical and Muliticultural

     ​The objects that catch this light can be in immediate sight or in one’s mind’s eye. For years I have been taking photographic notes that serve as a collective library of imagery to draw upon when creating paintings. The light always has this extraordinary way of changing the reality of what I am photographing, always suggesting transformation and a sense of an extended moment in time. When we look at the world we see what is in front of us, but we also make connections from a lifetimes’ worth of visual memories. So when I work, I am looking to de-trivialize the scene before me by weaving together images from sometimes completely different original sources—a medieval church and a dilapidated railroad bridge, a row of vacation cottages and peacock feathers. Sometimes it is the same place with multiple perspectives intertwined. The synthesis of images may be subtly woven together or presented as an open dialogue as in a diptych. This conversation between imagery is at the center of my work. 
     Though I operate out of an American Realist tradition, I also draw upon aesthetic inventions from Surrealism and Pop Art—all artists who also represent the ordinary in extraordinary ways. As a result my influences are eclectic, running the gamut from Vermeer to Hopper to Ernst to Rosenquist. The majority of my work is done in water-based media, both acrylics and water colors or a mixture of both.  I create small maquettes by collaging actual photos or drawing from the photos.  Eventually the painted composites become a larger work on canvas or paper.  

Artist's Statement

Transformative Light and the Collective Memory