Susan Mintz Slott, a painter and printmaker lives and works on Cape Cod. Sue received a B.S. degree from Tufts University/School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. An M.A. in painting and an M.A. in printmaking were received from California State University Stanislaus. She was a visiting artist at St. Martins College of Art, London from 1981 until 1984. In 1986 she moved to Houston where she was first represented by the Sheffield Gallery and then the McMurtrey Gallery. These last few years she has returned to drawing and works with models in her studio on Cape Cod.
The art of Susan Mintz Slott, by training and temperament, is firmly rooted in American Abstract Expressionism. Looking at her paintings, prints and drawings one is reminded that a work of art is only the physical manifestation, a kind of residue, of the process of the art's creation, the act of creating being the actual work of art. Many of her paintings, appear at first to be cool and austere with large shapes but no recognizable imagery and expansive, highly articulated areas of color reminiscent of Color Field painters, but without the psychological use and apparent flatness of a Barnett Newman or Adolph Gottlieb. The surface of her acrylic, raw pigment, and marble dust paintings, on the other hand, shows her indebtedness to the first generation of American abstractionists, they document the very act of creating: her arm and wrist movements and painterly gestures.
Since her arrival on Cape Cod she has focused her attention on drawing, primarily drawing from the nude model.
Since the Renaissance, drawing the nude has remained an essential focus of Western art. Whether embracing or refashioning the classical idea that the male nude embodied all that was best in humanity - triumph, glory, even moral excellence - artists from the seventeenth century to the present have made the nude form an endlessly compelling means of creative expression. The classical depiction of nudes as perfected ideal persons, each one a vision of health, youth, geometric clarity, and organic equilibrium has persisted to this day. British art historian and TV personality, Kenneth Clark considered idealization the hallmark of true nudes.
The nudes drawn by SMSlott are anything but idealized perfections of beauty. However, they are compelling, engaging and very human. She looks for models that her inner eye can respond to and react to on an emotional level. "I like the interaction of the line, the model and me", she states. Watching her draw, is like seeing a dance. She responds with her entire body. She almost seems to attack the easel with her charcoal or her brush. "You are in the moment, you and the line, the drawing. Responding to what's happening is exciting". This description of drawing the model is a perfect definition of the abstract expressionist process of creation. No wonder her most evocative and compelling nudes are done in 2-5 minute poses. Longer poses seem to force her out of her response to what her inner eye perceives and her hand knows to draw. If she finds herself with a beautiful model and especially when the pose lasts more than 5 minutes, her drawings at times come close to the classical ideal. Her most compelling compositions are those of two or three poses of a model on the same sheet, thus evoking the feeling of dynamic interaction between the figures. She can't exactly tell you what motivates her to double or triple the poses on a sheet; she does it intuitively, subconsciously. "Nothing is precious, the unknown is exhilarating" she said. The nudes of SMSlott are neither erotic, nor beautiful but they are compelling, truly unique and of such remarkable quality they rival the female nudes of Willem de Kooning.
(Essay by art historian Renata Karlin)