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WOODBURY — Susan McLaughlin will be presenting a collection of “narrative paintings with a surrealist, romantic bent,” she says, when “Garden Party” opens on August 9 at Good News Gallery.
“In my ‘Garden Party’ body of work the human and natural world melt into one, with humans and animals coexisting in a natural utopian democracy,” Ms McLaughlin told The Newtown Bee last week. “I combine elements of reality and fantasy to shed a new light on the interrelationship between humans and the natural world around us. The animals and insects in my paintings function as symbols and provide subtle clues and playful suggestions about my work.
“The reappearing wings transport us to alternate realities,” she added. “We as humans fit with nature so beautifully that viewers never even question the visual liberties I take while painting. For example, a cake takes the place of a hat, butterflies as bowties, snakes as watch fobs and human/butterfly hybrids. Instead, observers are free to find beauty in places where they never before thought to look.
Ms McLaughlin didn’t recognize the theme that connects the paintings — acrylics on medium- to large-scale linen canvases — until after they were finished.
“Upon completion, observing them lounging against my studio walls, though, I knew just where I was: at a garden party among my ‘guests,’” she said. “And who doesn’t like a party?”
In addition to the acrylics, some of the paintings also include bits of lace, 100-year-old dried flowers, torn paper and/or gems.
An opening reception on Sunday, August 14, from 3 to 5 pm, will include wine and hors d’oeuvres provided by Good News Café Chef Carole Peck.
“What could be more fitting for a garden party?” said the artist. The show will remain on view through October 8.
With her husband, Ms McLaughlin divides her time between Newtown, spending the warmer months in a house on Taunton Lake, and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla.
She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design (NYC) and a Master of Arts in Studio Art from NYU. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries on the East Coast including NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, N.J.; Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, N.Y.; Dacia Gallery and Manhattan Arts Gallery, both in New York City; Martha Gault Gallery, Slippery Rock, Penn.; Armstrong Fine Arts Gallery, Savannah, Ga.; Meeting House Gallery, Miami, Fla.; and The Guild 545 Gallery and Fat Village Center for the Arts, both in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
She is a member of The Society of Creative Arts of Newtown and a member of the board of directors of the Fat Village Center for the Arts.
Additional examples of Ms McLaughlin’s work can be seen on her website, susanmclaughlinart.com.
Good News Café & Gallery, at 694 Main Street South in Woodbury, is open Mondays, and Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 11:30 am until 10 pm; and Sundays, noon to 10 pm. Call 203-266-4663 or visit good-news-café.com for additional information.