Susan Danko earned the professional B.F.A. degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in 2013. She has held summer residency at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. (2013) and has actively exhibited throughout Ohio.
Where you can see more of this artist’s work:
In addition to Danko’s website, you can see paintings commissioned from her on the ground floor of the Stark State College building in Akron, and in the main lobby and waiting room of Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare, in Northfield (paintings inspired by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park which borders this facility).
Also, at the main entrance to the Fairview Hospital of the Cleveland Clinic in Rocky River, her 14-painting Wetland series of 2013 may be seen; Groundcover 2 in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Cleveland; and on touchscreens and keycards of the Cleveland Hilton Hotel and Convention Center. She also has work displayed in the United States Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, as part of the Art in Embassies program, and in 2013 created works of art to be awarded as part of Governor’s Awards for the Arts of the Ohio Arts Council. Danko has most recently received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council (2021).
And while you’re here:
Other original works in the Summa Collection that deal with environmental concerns include those by Lori Kella and Julie Friedman. Celebrating our remaining natural areas are works by Ian Adams, Rob Blair, Gretchen Goss, Wayne Mazarow, and Walter Grossman.
Materials: acrylic on 3 canvases, combined for a triptych, each 36" x 36"
Location at Summa: Juve Family Behavioral Health Pavilion, second floor lobby.
This work was commissioned by Summa Health specifically for this location.
About the art and artist:
This triptych, a work made up of three canvases, was created as a continuation of ideas first explored in Susan Danko's 2015 "Woodland Narrative" and "Woodland Narrative Series" commissioned by Northeast Behavioral Healthcare. Inspired by native plants that can be found on the borders of our Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Danko hopes that the combination of representational and formal devices in her work can create the suggestion of an environment in which these individual species can continue to flourish.
She delineates these plant varieties in two main styles: stencil-like, silhouetted as a single color against the ground, or drawn in bold or delicate outlines. Colors, as the relative scale, are arbitrary, chosen to evoke serenity. And every plant, regardless of its seasonal cycle, appears fully developed, making its cameo at its utter best. This is not a particular moment in time but a "best of" synthesis, in which each plant appears almost as if on stage in an official presentation. This effect is heightened by Danko's control of light: In the canvases themselves, she paints the center and background in far brighter tone to bring forward the plants she has chosen to move to "stage center", while painting the edges of the canvas wrapped around the stretchers white, these glow with light reflected from the ambience (and the artificial lighting above in this location) as though the entire triptych is enframed by its own light source.
Susan Danko's choice for the title, Abundance, feels as optimistic as her choice to show everything at its peak: Trees, shrubs, flowers, things we might dismiss as "weeds" speak to the natural profusion encountered just outside our door and then as we walk into less manicured environments. We can identify specific plants -- among them maple, lobelia, echinacea, locust, cinquefoil, several different varieties of ferns -- because Danko has painted them with incisive attention to detail, as well as with a grace that suggests gentle movement. At the same time, each plant depicted is done so in enough generality that it stands for its entire type. And, as the artist singles out plants one by one, we are reminded that we should not take this natural abundance for granted. Know, celebrate, conserve are Susan Danko's imperatives, themes continued here from earlier works where she combines imagery and knowledge of environmental issues to craft striking works that also carry warnings to us about their ultimate fragility as we ignore the signals from our deteriorating environment.
Materials: Acrylic on canvas, 36” x 48”
Location at Summa Health: Akron Campus, main building (141 N. Forge St.), purple neighborhood, ground floor near "T" Elevators.
This work was acquired for the Summa Health System — Akron Campus Wayfinding Project.
Susan Danko has chosen purple, violet, and blue-purple hues, along with a muted gold, to dominate in this painting. She blends these in swirling clouds as a background to the more graphically rendered vines, shrubs, flowers, and webbing that pulse around the edges of the canvas. A subtle but emphatic burst of energy in the distance unite the differing forms. The title, Multiflora, refers specifically to the Multiflora rose, an invasive species unwelcome in the Eastern U.S. because it forms dense thickets that degrade natural environments and reduces native plant and wildlife diversity.
The title’s literal translation, “multiple flowers,” can also refer to other plant invasive, which have worked their way into Danko’s two- and three-dimensional creations. Her work also focuses on how we have degraded our natural environment and created conditions for extreme weather: A stunning assemblage of cut painted paper, Debris Cloud (pictures of this work in progress and complete are featured on this page) evokes notions of storm, junk, and ocean detritus in a dense accumulation of abstract shapes, again both fascinating and threatening.
Danko’s recent work highlights this paradox: These environmental threats can appear to be beautiful, but that beauty only disguises their actual and potential capacity to destroy. On the basis of works like these, she was selected in the summer of 2020 for an artistic residency in the Shenandoah National Park.