Trauma and Healing: Art by Susan Harmon

An abstract work made with thin, running paintsa girl in the river, mixed media on canvas

Susan Harmon is an artist and art educator who creates works of energetic abstract art that deal with trauma and healing. Susan’s works tend to reference the aesthetics of abstract expressionism, but are very contemporary in material and installation formats.

A painting made of woven and overlapping lines of paint4

I really appreciate the amount of frenetic energy that’s imbued in each of Susan’s works. Given the sometimes-difficult subject matter that the artist works with, it’s somehow reassuring to see artworks that seem to have served as a space for emotional output, and perhaps showcase the results of some deep introspection.

A screen capture of the front page of Susan Harmon's art websiteThe front page of Susan's art website


The way Susan works is often reminiscent of Jackson Pollock, or Cy Twombly – large, horizontal substrates (often of thin paper) are covered from all angles in wildly overlapping splashes of paint and buzzing curved lines. Negative space is not forgotten, however, and when the viewer’s eye lands on a patch of neutral color it seems to be a break of sorts, an opportunity to contemplate before experiencing the rest of the piece.

A detail image of a large drip paintingStrange Fruit (detail), mixed media on canvas

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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