Susan grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and graduated from Ashley Hall and Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. She went to art schools, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, and receive a MFA from American University in Washington DC in 1972. Susan lived, raised her family, made art and exhibited her work there for twenty-five years before relocating to New York City. There she pursued her interest in psychology in combination with her own art making as she wanted to work clinically with people.
Susan received an MA in Art Therapy from New York University in 2001, and continued training at Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research in the Child and Adolescent Program which laid the foundation for her work in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and trauma immediately after 9/11. She worked for FEMA and The Red Cross in lower Manhattan in mental health in a hospital, several schools, and community centers in the ten years following the World Trade Center disaster.
In 2013, Susan completed a PhD in Expressive Therapies at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and is currently an adjunct professor there in the graduate school. Her dissertation, Art as a Catalyst for Resilience: Women Artists with a Life-Threatening Illness, explored the creative process in relation to health and ill health. She is a Board Certified Art therapist (ATR-BC), Licensed Creative Arts (LCAT) Therapist and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City.
Susan’s art studios are in Soho and CT. and she describes her art work as mixed media assemblage – collage, prints, painting and sculpture. She was recently invited with other international artists to work with artisans and exhibit her work Jaipur, India. Since that time she has been invited to teach in Pilani, India at a girls boarding school and exhibit work in New Delhi. A third invitation was to make work with eight international artists for a non-profit cancer hospital HCGF in Mysore, and exhibit works in Mysore and Bangalore, India. These exchanges have brought cultural richness to the work through experiences with treasures and people in India.
In a retrospective exhibition, “Psychic Stages”, a writer described her “metaphoric vision” and “psychic spaces…..not places of mere personal interiority but (they) are, instead, emblematic of the human condition from the individual to the collective”. She is the author of Armor /Amour an artist book based on Greek mythology which is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington. Susan has said in an artist’s statement about her work, “Universal concerns translate across cultural boundaries and affirm the possibility of the primal sense of wonder. The search continues for a way to make order out of chaos, courage out of fear, hope out of despair, light out of darkness, and as always, dreams out of reality.”
Susan has exhibited her work for over 40 years in solo and group shows nationally and practices as an artist, an art psychotherapist in New York and professor in Cambridge, MA. She has also participated in artist invitational projects in Croatia, Italy and India.