2020-. Since the Covid-19 virus pandemic struck, I have been creating paintings inspired by the music, lights, fashion and the euphoria I experience in the dance culture that I miss. I have been a student of dance for most of my life. I have studied Modern, Jazz, Tap, Salsa, and Hip Hop. I love the communal energy and collective joy that I feel in dance studios and in the nightclub dance scene. My creative response to the isolation and grief from the pandemic is to paint a joyful visual world of rhythmic patterns, positive energy, movement and shimmery, vibrant hues.
Disco Ball, Mirror Ball, Silver Sphere, Glitter Ball. Dance Icon.
Disco balls do not merely reflect light; they have become the source of a multifaceted and multilayered metaphor for community, escapism, inclusion, even safety in nightlife. I grew up in the Disco era of the 1970s. Disco emerged from the negative conditions of late 1960’s. The fight for Civil Rights, Gay Liberation, Women’s Rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement fed into the zeitgeist of that time. Discotheques were joyful places where marginalized people could safely express themselves. Predominately LGBTQ, Black and Latino communities popularized underground nightclubs and accelerated dance music culture. These clubs provided safe havens for people who wanted to escape from social issues and enjoy a euphoric experience away from public scrutiny.
The thing I’ve always loved about dancing is its unwavering positivity. Dance is a reverie that maintains its transcendent high. Dance studios and clubs continue to provide a culture of love and inclusion and creates a space for community-building across lines of differences. Disco Balls are celebratory objects of life-affirming transformation.
With today’s era of social and political divisions, climate change and the pandemic, I can’t wait to get back on the dance floor with hundreds of other sweaty people dancing our cares away under the sparkle of a big Disco Ball.
My paintings from 2018 and 2019 are intuitive inventions that indulge in surface pattern and texture. Organic forms pulse with geometric patterns that compete, overwhelm, cooperate, tease, balance, or dance with each other.
My topographic abstract paintings are poetic metaphors referencing the form and color of the landscape. In these paintings I explore spatial and chromatic effects by carefully balancing bright and dull colors on layered organic shapes.
Hand-painted paper is cut or torn and reassembled on the surface. Thick, textural opaque pigments suggest density and physical weight juxtaposed with light and airy atmospheric color.
Susan Derrick was born and raised in southern New York state. She earned a BFA in Painting from Alfred University, NY and worked for 10 years as an illustrator near New York City. She moved to Redmond, Washington in 1995. Susan Derrick has had several solo shows and her paintings have been included in numerous group exhibitions at galleries, art centers and a museum show. She is an arts educator, avid art-book collector, photographer, backyard birder, and a life-long student of dance.
1983 Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Painting, Alfred University, New York
2018 Color Interactions: Theory and Practice, North Seattle College, Seattle, WA
Art2Life Creative Visionary Program, (Online), Painting
2014 Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development Program
2010-13 Gage Academy of Art, Seattle, WA, Painting/Drawing
2005 Kelly S. King Faux Finish Institute, Lynnwood, WA, Designer Wall Finishes
1988 State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase, Drawing/Painting
1985-86 Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, Illustration
2018 re:surface, Studio 103, Tashiro Kaplan Building, Seattle, WA
2016 Fragile Beauty, Ombu, Edmonds, WA
2015 Impermanence, Studio 103 Tashiro Kaplan Building, Seattle, WA
2013 Corrosion, Dusted Valley Wine and Art Gallery, Woodinville, WA
Selected Group Exhibitions
2020 Visual Impressions, Ryan James Fine Arts, Kirkland, WA, National Exhibition
ICON, Lynn Hanson Gallery, Seattle, WA, Stephanie Hargrave- Curator
20/20 Vision: CoCA Members Show, Center on Contemporary Art, National Exhibition, Seattle, WA, Nicole Dement- Juror
Reflections from 1962 to the Future, Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland, WA, Donna Lindeman Porter- Curator
2019 Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, Central Washington University, INTERSTATE, National Exhibition, Ellensburg, WA, Grace Kook-Anderson- Curator
2018 MARIN MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Memory and Perception, National Exhibition, Novato, CA, Alan Bamberger- Curator
Museo Gallery, Terrain: Exploring a Common Ground, Langley,WA
Art2Life Academy International Online Exhibition, Donna Seager- Juror
North Seattle College, Like Mother, Traveling Exhibition, Seattle, WA, Kelly Lyles- Curator
2017 ArtXchange Gallery, Like Mother, Traveling Exhibition, Seattle, WA
2016 Frederick Holmes and Company Gallery, 3 Person Exhibition, Obfuscation, Seattle, WA, Frederick Holmes and Colleen Lenahan– Curators
35 LIVE: COCA Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA
Bellevue Arts Museum, Women’s Work, Women Painters of Washington, Community Education Gallery, Bellevue, WA
2015 Larson Gallery, Visual Voices, Yakima Valley College, Yakima, WA, David Lynx- Juror
The Bemis Building, Bemis Fall Art Show, Seattle, WA
2014 Seattle Design Center, Local Beat, Evergreen Association of Fine Arts Gallery, Seattle, WA
2013 Schack Art Center, Celebration!, Women Painters of Washington, Everett, WA
2011 Northwinds Art Center, Art Port Townsend Northwest Expressions, Port Townsend, WA, Gary Faigin- Juror
Seattle Design Center, Members Exhibition, Eastside Association of Fine Arts, Seattle, WA
2009 Kaewyn Gallery, Waterworks, Northwest Watercolor Society, Bothell, WA, Christopher Schink- Juror
Trilogy Golf Club, Members Exhibition, Northwest Watercolor Society, Redmond, WA, Tom Hoffman- Juror
Bothell Landing Park Building, LiveArts, Bothell, WA, Diane Ainsworth- Juror
2008 New Dimensions Gallery, Waterworks, Northwest Watercolor Society, Bellevue, WA, Betsy Dillard Stroud- Juror
2007 Harbor Gallery, Waterworks, Northwest Watercolor Society, Gig Harbor, WA, Robert Burridge- Juror
2016 Betty Jo Fitzgerald Award, Women’s Work: Women Painters of Washington, Bellevue Arts Museum, Cappy Thompson- Juror
2015 Honorable Mention, Larson Gallery, Visual Voices, David Lynx- Juror
Studio Challenge Finalist, Kirkland Arts Center: Artbeat Auction, Kirkland, WA, Larry Metcalf- Juror
2009 Best of Show Award, Eastside Association of Fine Arts, Members Exhibition, Tom Hoffman- Juror
Jack Richeson Award, Northwest Watercolor Society, Waterworks, Christopher Schink- Juror
Honorable Mention, LiveArts Bothell Exhibition, Diane Ainsworth- Juror
2008 L.A. Frames Award, Northwest Watercolor Society, Waterworks, Betsy Dillard Stroud- Juror
2007 Juror’s Award of Merit, Northwest Watercolor Society, Waterworks, Robert Burridge- Juror
1984 Two First Place Awards– Drawing and Painting, Beaux Art Finale, The Women’s Clubs of Westchester, New York
2015 Artist Trust EDGE Graduate Show, Galvanize, Seattle, WA, Co-curated with Louise Hankes
Women Painters of Washington Gallery, Black & White + One, Group Exhibition, Seattle, WA, Co-curated with Cheryl Richey
Graymoor, Garrison, New York
2018 Madrona Love, Self-published Nature Photography Book
1983 Smithsonian Magazine- Illustration
2019 Video Documentary, Stories of Giving- Artist Susan Derrick partnering with Seattle Angels, a non-profit organization that supports Foster youth and the families who care for them. Video sponsored by Tinte Cellars of Woodinville, WA.
2016 Kirkland Arts Center, Live Auction Donating Artist
2015 Art Beat- Alternative Talk 1150 KKNW with Pat Pauley
Guest Speaker, Bellevue Arts Museum Potpourri Guild Luncheon
Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine, Lead Artist for Fundraiser BarkART for Foster Kids, Urban Reclamations, Seattle, WA
Kirkland Arts Center, Live Auction Donating Artist
2015 Centrum Artist-In-Residence, Port Townsend, WA
2014 Centrum Artist-In-Residence, Port Townsend, WA
2013 Centrum Artist-In-Residence, Port Townsend, WA
Work Related Experience
2012-13, 2020 Arts Educator, Susan Derrick Fine Art, Redmond Studio
2007 Youth Art Educator, Summer Camp, Susan Derrick Fine Art, Redmond Studio
1984-90 Staff Illustrator at LAM Design, White Plains, New York. Package Design and Advertising for Fortune 500 Companies-Pepsi, Nestle, General Foods, Bristol-Myers, Xerox, Seagrams, Heublein, Reader’s Digest
1983-85 Freelance Illustration
COCA Center on Contemporary Art
Kirkland Arts Center
Woodinville Arts Alliance