Nature In Play-Artist's Statement



“ The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” 
     Robert Henry


It’s been nearly a year since Susan Moffett and I sat down and decided to do a show together at PYRO. Given our mutual love of nature and all its colors, textures and forms, we decided to make the natural world the focus of our show. We agreed all of nature would be our inspiration and that this broad theme would allow us the freedom to document, simplify, abstract and invent new ideas – and to play! As we talked and shared ideas it became clear we both wanted to take a lighthearted, playful approach to the plants, fruits, trees, small animals, and landscapes we would depict in clay and on paper. We kept batting around words like surprise, fun, whimsy, wonder and awe, then Susan suggested the title Nature in Play might fit nicely.   

As we both began working on pieces for the show, we checked in with each other from time to time, excited to share what we were both observing and experiencing. In October, Susan realized her health was limiting her strength and stamina; she worried about her ability to complete the work she envisioned and we agreed to reduce the number of pieces she would contribute to the show.

Throughout November and December we continued talking and sharing ideas. We were both excited about finding that, in focusing closely on some of the subtle details of plants, bark, nuts, and seed pods, fascinating abstract shapes, colors, and textures were revealed, beyond the original objects themselves. The last time we talked, we agreed to take a break over the holidays and then collaborate on a single piece together, perhaps with Susan etching her designs on my clay sculpture. 

Instead, on January 22nd, as her heart condition worsened, Susan went into the hospital. In early February while she waited for a new heart, she decided the title of her next show after Nature in Play would be While I Was Waiting….  But we will never know how Susan would have expressed in her in drawings and prints the courage, determination, and hope with which she faced her illness. Our hearts were broken when Susan died on March 1st.

The work Susan had completed for Nature in Play represents the last time we will have the joy of seeing nature, life, and love through Susan’s eyes. But we also celebrate Susan’s life and creativity over many years, thanks to her husband, Scott Borden, and Susan’s daughters, Audrey and Elaine, in a special show of Susan’s works, Susan Moffett: A Retrospective.


John McCarthy

July 19, 2018