Susan Kelligrew Sartor was born in Needham, Massachusetts in 1968. She spent her teen years growing up in Summit, New Jersey. Sue went to Summit High School where she discovered a passion for art and painting in a very well developed art program. She then went on to study Art History and Studio Art at Tulane University from 1987-1991. In the early 90’s, Sue worked at the prestigious Marisa del Re Art Gallery in New York, Monte Carlo, and Paris. She helped to represent the works of Botero, Cesar, Larry Rivers, the Lelannes, and Bettina Werner. Following her work with the gallery, she spent several years in Fashion Merchandising with Calvin Klein and Escada in New York, DC, and Dallas. In 1994 Sue went back to begin a Masters in Fine Art at the Maryland Art Institute. Sue's current "Atmospheric Scape" paintings continue to reflect the painting exploration she began over 30 years ago.
Art historically, Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting resonate with Sue greatly. She has been impacted by the works of Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly, Helen Frankenthaler, Clifford Still, and Franz Kline. Ethereal layers of color, combining subtle and strong strokes, and resulting in a harmonious and pleasing composition, are important factors in her work.
Sue likes to think of her paintings as Atmospheric Expressionism and each painting is a unique Atmospheric Scape.Each painting or scape expresses a certain sensibility of a feeling, time, space or place. There is usually no horizon line or literal play on subject matter. The paintings are about the pure visual inexperience. It is through the manipulation of brush stroke, contrast of mediums, and play of color that helps to create this energy. The undulating paint plays within a certain color range that is specifically and thoughtfully chosen. Cascading vessels or "shapes" can make up the atmosphere. These vessel-like shapes have been appearing in Sue's work since the early 1990’s. Looking deeper within the vessels, edges are tightened or blurred and nuances are created.
In Sue's most recent series of work, Resolution, Abstraction and Placidity, Equanimity and Atmospheric Resolution, and Atmospheric Scapes, the artist is playing with the push and pull of color. She plays with the vibrancy or strength of one color and hope to create a push and pull for the eye. She likes to play with proportion and draw the eye into areas of the canvas with surprising and appealing underlay of texture or color. There are moments of incredibly subtle juxtaposition. Nuances are created. The sense of atmospheric “scape” is strong. These images are usually a departure of images I have of a childhood in New England, and the lush landscape around Cape Cod Bay, or adulthood in Louisiana, and the texturally rich marshland and bayous. Currently I am working in mixed media. I enjoy staining areas of the canvas first with ink pigment and then layering acrylics and oils over and building up the canvas. Oil Bar, oil pastel, graphite, pastel, crayon, and charcoal are used to create emphasis and mark making.
Custom Pieces and sizes are available in sizes ranging from 20" x 20", to as large as 8'x8'.