In 1998, long-time resident of the City of Ventura Susan Cook re-entered college. While attending Ventura College with hopes of becoming a landscape designer she found her true passion, painting. Under the tutelage of such remarkable faculty as Hiroko Yoshimoto, Carlisle Cooper and Robert Moskowitz, her formal art education began. She transferred to California State University, Channel Islands and earned her Bachelors Degree in Art, graduating Summa Cum Laude in their first class of 2003.
Cook is the proud recipient of numerous awards for her paintings and service to the Ventura arts community that include: the 2011 Mayors Arts Award, Artist in the Community, 2014 1st Place Award Ventura County Arts Council, 1st Place Award 2012 Ventura County Fair, the Barney Dietz Purchase Award and Award of Excellence from the Ventura College Fine Art Department, the Presidential Award from Ventura College Foundation, and the Outstanding Student Award from Ventura College Friends of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited throughout Ventura County including solo exhibitions at Accolades, Fox Fine Jewelry, Jonathan’s at Peirano’s and the Buenaventura Art Gallery. She has participated in group exhibits at 643 Project Space, CSUCI, Affinity Bank, Carnegie Museum, Studio Channel Islands Art Center, Artists Union Gallery, Ventura County Arts Council, Ventura College Art Gallery and Ventura Music Festival.
Cook currently serves on the Standards Committee for Studio Channel Islands Art Center. She served as a Ventura Public Art Commissioner, as well as board member for Bell Arts Factory, Buenaventura Art Association, and Ventura Music Festival. She is an active member of Focus on the Masters and Studio Channel Islands Art Center.
Cook's paintings are inspired by a devotion to nature and evidence an interest in experimentation with the rhythm of figuration and color. She prefers to work from unostentatious imagery that conveys a sense of reality. Her subject matter is in part a reaction to the pressure exerted by an infringing media that we experience everyday, the frantic pace of modern life and also demonstrates a keen interest in the primacy of the painting process.
Spontaneous combinations of color and shape reflect the importance that she places on both the structure of the composition and the sensual effect color has on the viewer. The progression of the paintings is a journey through a broad range of emotional, intellectual and technical territories as each evolves with color, losing the original tactile memory and growing in the spirit of the painting. The vibrant colors play interchangeably between background and foreground redefining the elements within the images, obscuring detail, in order to convey a feeling about the moment that will change for each onlooker as he or she brings their own perceptions to the work.