Susan McAlister

Susan McAlister

Born and raised in the Hunt Country 
of Virginia, Susan McAlister received her BA from Davidson College. She has studied alongside numerous acclaimed and professional artists including Herb Jackson and Eric Aho.

Her paintings speak to a love of the land and a concern for the spirit of place. The artist has a keen ability to translate sensations into painting. Her lush, often abstracted landscapes are evocative and powerful explorations of her quest for places and things that nurture and inspire.

McAlister lives with her husband and three children in Charlotte, NC.



“The world as it is would always be a reminder of 
the world that was, and of the world that is to come.”

Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow*

My work is rooted in a love of land. It speaks to the hallowed nature of place and the importance of land ethic.

The patterns and rhythms of nature continually inspire. Color variations of a grass field, shadows on a forest floor, shifting light and atmosphere. Increasingly, I seek to combine these visual narratives with the histories of place. How can we hold the stories of these lands to bring about curiosity, or discomfort or convey new ideas? Past, present and future collide. Imagined combines with real, abstraction with representation.

In the tradition of en plein air, my process begins out on the land. There I sketch, paint, template and collect artifacts which inform my studio practice. Materials are central to these discussions. My work combines layers of paint, ink, graphite, and other materials to simultaneously construct and deconstruct.

A recent exploration of more dimensional assemblages has allowed me to introduce new materials such as found objects and cyanotypes. These pieces have expanded my ability to highlight the stories of specific geographic and historical sites. As a process painter and artist, I have an affinity for mark making and the freedom of the Abstract Expressionists. Each work resolves at varying levels of abstraction, with the goal of luring the viewer into a personal sense of place and time.



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