Stone Music: The Art and Poetry of Susan Gardner
Susan Gardner is an exceptionally accomplished painter, photographer, and poet. "Stone Music," a large format collection with forty-four color plates, features Gardner's work in each of these art forms, both retrospective and current. Overall, Gardner presents a rich blend of classic aesthetics and personal insight. In her own view, "part of my job as an artist is to record, to make manifest what is true. My tools are brushes and paint, camera lens, pencil and words." The book itself is an object of visual delight fully in keeping with the elegant, compelling nature of its content.
Gardner displays a consistent ability to extract contextual meaning from the subtle undertones of her surroundings and associations. With spontaneity and clarity of expression, she explores and illuminates the relationships between individuals, society, and nature. Art critic J.W. Mahoney has said, "Her art speaks of what is not seen yet is present, of what is common yet irredeemably precious." Gardner's visual art and poetry bear a striking resemblance to one another in terms of observational honesty and lyrical sensibility. In the words of composer Peter Michaelides, "Every picture evokes a poem . . . every poem an image."
Susan Gardner's multicultural background is evident in both the physical and aesthetic qualities of her work. Originally from New York City, Gardner spent much of her early adulthood in Korea and Japan. There she learned and perfected her skills in Chinese landscape painting and Japanese calligraphy, eventually achieving critical acclaim in both. She has subsequently lived, worked, and exhibited in several countries including France, Spain, and Mexico. Her visual and literary art still reflect the style of forceful spontaneity and directness she developed early in her art career.