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Cairns and charisma: Speaking with Susan Hodgin


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I’m a little bit in love with oil painter Susan Hodgin.

Okay, I’m in love with what she puts on canvas.

Hodgin is an abstract expressionist whose paintings are lush in their choice of rich colors. Spheres play an important role in her landscape-based work. She’s been studying maps and topography and examines the world from an aerial viewpoint, watching a map leave behind its strict lines until her eye rises above the clouds and the world becomes a sphere. Hodgin’s perspective is breathtaking.

Ocular, mixed media on canvas, 24 x 24, 2010
  • "Ocular," mixed media on canvas, 24" x 24", 2010

A student in the low-residency MFA program at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Hodgin works with circular shapes and lines, pours paint, and sees where it goes. The program has allowed her to “unravel the tight ball in [her] work.” Working with oils, which hold color longer and are more mobile than quick-drying acrylics, has given her freedom.

Employed as a full-time artist since 2003, Hodgin is thankful to study in a scenic locale that historically became popular during the abstract expressionist period following World War II. Hodgin will graduate with a small class of mostly women with diverse ages. She’s enjoyed being exposed to her classmates’ life experience: “Everyone isn’t walking the same walk or talking the same talk.”

Inclination, mixed media on canvas, 40 x 40, 2010
  • "Inclination," mixed media on canvas, 40" x 40", 2010

On May 7, the Harrison Center for the Arts (1505 North Delaware Street) — where Hodgin also maintains studio space — will open its doors for an open house from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Soon, a series of stretched canvases that make up Hodgin’s 20-foot painting, “Gale,” will be installed in the Harrison’s underground. Her work will also be on display at the Indianapolis Art Center during the Broad Ripple Art Fair and she will have a few large pieces on display at Café Patachou downtown (225 West Washington Street) in June and July.

For more information, visit or her Facebook page, enjoy a slideshow of her work, “Cairns,” and email her at for purchase information.


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