Reflections on a season of Groovy Sue

Photo By Valerie Sonnenthal

Last Sunday was Suesan Stovall’s birthday, but don’t ask her how old she is. It was also the closing exhibit and sale of her artwork at her gallery/garage in Oak Bluffs, The Groovy Sue Gallery. I had not been able to make it to any of her openings over the summer, so I made sure to be early so I could enjoy all the work she has been up to visually.

Suesan is using her own photography of graffiti in her collage work. The city appears in many more pieces as a grounding background. Other larger pieces use images of family members as angels and other figures. She is a conduit for emotions past and present, for struggles of individual freedoms, for love and strength and so much more. Being able to see her work all together in the space she creates in is a special experience akin to entering a sanctuary or shrine. I have seen Suesan spread her artistic wings and master materials in her journey of collage.

This summer she picked up a box of oil pastels she inherited five years ago when her stepmother died. Suesan likes to work fast. She is not interested in oil painting, varnishing, and waiting to layer slowly while a surface dries. Using oil pastels allows her to have a greater range in coloring her backgrounds, buildings, and scenes. She showed me a dossier of photographs she has been taking of the homeless in Los Angeles, where she lives part-time. The photos form the basis of a show she is hoping to present in the near future.

Suesan is a fireball of energy with a heart to match. You can follow her travels and creative projects on Facebook at the Groovy Sue Gallery page. And if you were lucky enough to be at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center for Geraldine Brooks’ discussion of her new book “The Secret Chord,” you may have enjoyed Suesan giving an impromptu performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Suesan brings her amazing, creative, artistic self to all she does. We wish her a good winter and look forward to seeing and hearing all her new work when she graces our Island next year.