Below is a review by Michael Upchurch of Susanna Bluhm‘s exhibit Red Country: Mississippi and Arizona for the weekly Culture round up at Crosscut, published March 29, 2018

Susanna Bluhm: “Red Country: Mississippi and Arizona”

When Donald Trump won the 2016 election, Seattle artist Susanna Bluhm decided to deal with her feelings of “incredulity and animosity” by visiting as many states that voted him into office as she could. There, she painted what she saw and experienced. She asked locals to point her toward the places important to them. “Some have told me to go to popular tourist destination landscapes, like the Grand Canyon,” she says in her artist’s statement, “while some have told me to go to places that have been significant to them personally, like a woman’s backyard in rural Arizona.” “Red Country: Mississippi and Arizona” represents two early chapters in her project. Bluhm’s oil-and-acrylics on canvas can be epic on scale or humbly intimate. Her brushstrokes range from goopy-creamy to filigree-fine. The result, especially in her Arizona paintings, is a

Susanna Bluhm, “Grand Canyon with Theo, Queequeg and Lunchtime Squirrel (Biographical)” (2017) oil and acrylic on canvas
Susanna Bluhm, “Grand Canyon with Theo, Queequeg and Lunchtime Squirrel (Biographical)” (2017) oil and acrylic on canvas (Courtesy of G. Gibson Gallery)

kind of impressionism with unexpected collage-like elements to it. In her canyon landscapes, for instance, the buttes and cliffs are simultaneously firm and smeary, while her rendering of the flora in their crevices is as delicate as lace. Her venturesome treatment of color recalls David Hockney’s. She can even be humorous, as in “Grand Canyon with Theo, Queequeg and Lunchtime Squirrel (Biographical)” where the little critter in the foreground is goofily oblivious to the grandeur all around it. Venturing out from her usual surroundings, she’s brought back some memorable visual goods.

If you go: Red Country: Mississippi and Arizona,” G. Gibson Gallery,, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, through April 21—M.U.

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