New work of Susan Santiago featured at Magenta Gallery
By Fran Schiavo
Magenta Gallery will be featuring the new work of artist Susan Santiago and holding an opening reception at the gallery on Saturday, January 12, from 5 to 8pm.
Magenta Gallery Art Opening
Sat, Jan 12, 5-8pm
Santiago visited San Miguel with her architect husband over 22 years ago and they immediately fell in love with this magical city. However, they were well aware that they had many years of working ahead of them before they could even begin to think about retiring.
Susan was born on the East Coast and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history at New York University. Upon graduation, she moved to Woodstock, New York, studied at the Art Student’s League, and taught art to troubled teenagers in residential treatment centers throughout the upstate New York area. She eventually moved to California, earned a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, and worked as an art teacher for over 25 years in the public schools of Los Angeles. During her teaching career, she and her husband lived in Topanga Canyon, a rural, and artists’ enclave in the Santa Monica Mountains.
When they began to plan for retirement, they returned to San Miguel de Allende and decided to act. They purchased a wonderful lot in Balcones and her husband, Ral, began designing their dream home. In his plans, he included a spacious studio for Susan, where she currently spends most of her time.
While working in California, Susan exhibited at Orlando Gallery, which was one of the oldest galleries in Los Angeles area.
When Susan and her husband moved to San Miguel permanently in 2011 she was finally able to devote herself full time to her work.
When she was an educator, her favorite class to teach was art history. She firmly believes that knowledge of art history helps artists develop frames of reference for their own work. She believes that “ no one can create in a vacuum.” During her career as a teacher she chaperoned several student trips to Europe that focused on art historical sites and museums. These trips provided an opportunity for her to finally see many of the masterpieces she had only viewed in books. They had a profound impact on her sensibilities.
Susan has always been interested in the people and cultural traditions of Mexico. These subjects have appeared in her paintings throughout the years. Now that she is living full time in Mexico, she has established new goals for herself. Her plans are to eventually be fluent in Spanish, to study in depth the history and culture of Mexico, read the works Latin American writers and, most importantly, concentrate on painting.
The artist states “ I have never been a big fan of conceptual art or any art that needs a long winded explanation adjacent to it for the viewer to figure out what the artist is trying to say. I am interested in art that has a direct emotional connection with the viewer. I love the work of Tamayo, the portraits of Diego Rivera, the drawing and prints of Raul Anguinao and Kate Kollwitz, as well as the paintings of Lucien Freud. But because I have studied art history for so long I have an endless list of favorites.”
Recently Susan has shifted away from realism, and is currently exploring a more surrealistic and whimsical approach to her work. Her current imagery does contain references to her experiences in Mexico but she utilizes a more stream-of-consciousness approach to her subject matter. Susan recently said “I now have the time and energy for exploration with my work. I have no idea how my work will evolve in the next few years but I am really looking forward to the journey “