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Born and raised in Southern California, Susan received her BA in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley. In the 1970s she moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she commuted to graduate school at Brooklyn College in New York. It was there that she studied drawing and painting with Lee Bontecou, Phillip Pearlstein, Lois Dodd, and Alan D’Arcangelo among others. After receiving her MFA in 1982, she began showing her work regularly as well as teaching drawing and painting for twenty years at various colleges in the Philadelphia region, including fourteen years at Philadelphia University.

Shortly after moving to Taos, New Mexico, from Philadelphia in 2004, Susan was awarded a three-month residency at the Harwood Museum of Art (January-April 2005). Her work has been shown in museums and galleries throughout the U.S.—including twenty solo exhibitions in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC—and her work is held in numerous public and private collections. She has also received several fellowships and awards, including three first place prizes in competitions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, and a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.