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Coleman's Paintings and Drawings on Display at Ashford Gallery

“Landscapes/Works on Paper,” the work of artist Susan Coleman, will be on display in Ashford University’s Cortona Art Gallery  through February 2.

The exhibit is composed of 20 oil paintings and pastel drawings. 

“Despite its long history in western art, I feel that the subject of landscape can serve as a fresh and relevant path for interpreting the human condition. Landscape can make reference to a larger journey,” Coleman said.

“For as long as I can remember I’ve loved drawing. Over time, the practice of sitting down to really look at something, has become part of me. Nature has been a source of inspiration since childhood. Drawing from nature encourages spontaneity and playfulness, because in nature there is more than one right answer.

“The search for meaning is at the heart of my interest in landscape. Hope is rekindled by the creative spirit I see revealed in nature and the beauty of this world; rivers that continue to flow, and days that continue to dawn. Drawing from nature helps me recognize the sacred in the commonplace, something I’d prefer not to take for granted.

Coleman has an M.F.A. in Painting with a minor in Printmaking and an M.A. in Drawing with a minor in Painting from the University of Iowa and a B.F.A. in Drawing from Webster University, St. Louis, Mo. Currently the Coordinator of the McWethy Gallery at Cornell College, Vernon, IA., she has taught at Cornell, Kirkwood Community College, the University of Northern Iowa, Dartmouth College and the University of Iowa.

“Metaphors as old as human memory are embedded in the themes of landscape,” Coleman said. “The mysteries of nature still exist, and are akin to the mysteries within us. The garden in the wilderness is as ancient as human imagination, and that yearning for a place of peace is as much a part of our inner world as the vague fear of unforeseen tragedy we glimpse in a nightmare, or on any evening newscast.

A reception for the artist will be held in the gallery on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 3 until 5 p.m.

The Cortona Gallery, located on the second floor of the University’s Clare Hall, 400 N. Bluff Blvd., is named for Sister Cortona Phelan, OSF, former president of Mount St. Clare College and President of the Sisters of St. Francis.  She influenced the quality of education at the College through her teaching of American history and her love of the arts for many years.  She also served as MSC Academy Principal and as Dean of Students at the College.

The free art gallery is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays and for private showings by appointment. For further information, interested persons can call 563-242-4023.

Founded in 1918 as Mount St. Clare College in Clinton, Iowa, Ashford University is a coeducational, liberal arts institution regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with programs in education, business, computer animation and graphic design and other areas.  The University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a range of student activities and athletics, at its Clinton campus.  Online degree programs are available in education, organizational management, business administration, and psychology.   For more information, please visit