Over the past two decades, Susan Swartz’ work as an artist, philanthropist and documentary film producer has focused on changing the way people see the world around them. By shedding light on important issues such as the fragility of the natural world and social injustice, Susan hopes to shift thinking, inspire change and provide a message of hope.
The intersection of art and film is a natural connection for Susan. Susan is a founder of the documentary film organization , the Oscar and Emmy award winning production group renowned for igniting change through storytelling on pressing social issues. Investing with Impact Partners and directly, Susan has been involved with a long line of important environmental and social justice films.
Her decade-long battle with Lyme Disease and mercury poisoning transformed her as an artist and altered her life focus. These two environmentally-borne illnesses slowly paralyzed Susan until she was unable to hold a paint brush. Her struggle with Lyme Disease resulted in the pivotal, award-winning film Under Our Skin in 2008, which uncovers a natural world out of balance and a medical establishment that put profits before patients. As an Executive Producer of Mercury Rising, a companion short film to the Sundance hit and 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary, The Cove, that tracked the secret butchering of dolphins in a rural Japanese beach community, The Cove: Mercury Rising explores the dangers of mercury contamination as it affects society and the global environment. Susan has also sought to recognize the achievement of other women artists through the film !Women Art Revolution in 2010, where she served as an Executive Producer. The film reveals how the feminist art movement fused free speech and politics into work that radically changed the art and culture of our time. It was selected by MoMA as one of the best documentaries of 2011. Susan has partnered on a number of campaigns and films with environmental crusaders such as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Louie Psihoyos and Dr. Jane Goodall, that seek to shed light on social and environmental injustice.
cuadernosdefilosofia.comDuring her recovery from chronic disease, Susan’s art changed as dramatically as her lifestyle and outlook. She left the comforts of realism for increasingly abstract painting, working from a place of impassioned reverence for the earth, and a fierce determination to inform and educate about nature’s fragility.
“While my illnesses wreaked tremendous havoc on body and spirit, they also shook me out of my comfort level as an artist,” she says. “The art I am now creating is more impassioned, more profound, more achingly full of desire than anything I have created in the past.”
Susan serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and passionately supports its "Women, Art and Social Change" initiative. By bringing to light remarkable women artists of the past while also promoting the best women artists working today, the Museum directly addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art in the U.S. and abroad, thus securing great women artists a place of honor in the history of art. Susan is a co-founder of charity-based which is now the largest center for social welfare and the largest food bank in the state of Utah. She became involved with the Harvard Divinity School (HDS) in 2005, when she was invited to become the School's artist-in-residence, exploring the intersection of spirituality and art. Her involvement continued over the years through service on the HDS Dean's Council. In 2012, Susan established the Susan Shallcross Swartz Endowment for Christian Studies which funds new professorships and supports fellowships and programming in the classroom and in the field around world religions.
Artists seek universal truths and help to form a community that responds to these truths and not to rhetoric. Susan’s canvases of the natural world remind us how we are all connected, dependent on each other and responsible for the stewardship of the natural world. Susan’s art, film and philanthropy provides a message of hope and highlights our interdependence as citizens in a global community.
"I’m often described as an environmental artist and that is an honor, but it is not a political stance for me. I seek to pay tribute to nature by painting the world as it is meant to be so that we are inspired to protect it and take care of it. I also have a dedication to support documentary filmmakers who are equally driven to tell their stories and share their message for the benefit of social change."
Susan is pleased to unite her interests in combining artistic expression with activism through the ART AND SOCIAL JUSTICE exhibition, on view at Susan Swartz Studios (260 Main Street, Park City) until February 2, 2020.
ABOUT SUSAN SWARTZ
Susan Swartz has been recognized with solo exhibitions at the Museum in Beijing, China in 2018; the in Davis, California in 2018; the in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2017; the in Budapest, Hungary in 2016; the in Koblenz, Germany in 2015; the Kollegienkirche in Salzburg, Austria in 2014; the in Washington, D.C in 2011; the in Springville, Utah in 2010; and the in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2008.
Her works are in the permanent collections of the ; the ; the ; the in Lausanne, Switzerland; and in Beijing, China. Her paintings are also on display inside the United States Embassies in New Zealand, Hungary, and Beijing via the program.
In 2005, Susan was published in the Gibbs Smith collectors book . She was the Official Olympic Environmental Artist for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
cuadernosdefilosofia.comSusan paints from studios in Park City and Martha’s Vineyard.